High performance, LED powered, waveguide based total internal reflection microscopy

Sci Rep. 2013;3:2133. doi: 10.1038/srep02133.


Total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy is a rapidly expanding optical technique with excellent surface sensitivity and limited background fluorescence. Commercially available TIRF systems are either objective based that employ expensive special high numerical aperture (NA) objectives or prism based that restrict integrating other modalities of investigation for structure-function analysis. Both techniques result in uneven illumination of the field of view and require training and experience in optics. Here we describe a novel, inexpensive, LED powered, waveguide based TIRF system that could be used as an add-on module to any standard fluorescence microscope even with low NA objectives. This system requires no alignment, illuminates the entire field evenly, and allows switching between epifluorescence/TIRF/bright field modes without adjustments or objective replacements. The simple design allows integration with other imaging systems, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), for probing complex biological systems at their native nanoscale regimes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*