A state-of-the-art Zeiss LSM 880 confocal laser scanning microscope is available to Virginia Tech researchers through the Fralin Imaging Center. The instrument is operated on a fee-for-use basis as a university service center.


Filter Sets

Axio Observer Z1 inverted microscope with motorized stage

34 channel detector

·         2 standard PMTs

·         32 channel GaAsP detector with 45% quantum efficiency

·         Airyscan detector (coming June 2017)


·         Near UV (405 nm) diode laser (30 mW)

·         25 mW argon laser (458, 488, and 514 nm)

·         3 Helium neon (HeNe) lasers

                 o   543 nm (1 mW)

                 o   594 nm (2 mW)

                 o   633 nm (5 mW)

Software packages and add-ons

·         Definite Focus

·         Experiment Designer module

·         Tiles/Positions Module

·         Temperature control module

·         Plexiglas microscope housing

·         CO2 control module

·         Capabilities

                 o   Time lapse with Definite Focus

                 o   Z scanning

                 o   Tile scanning

                 o   ROI bleaching

                 o   Linear unmixing

Other assets

·         Online reservation system

·         Computer workstation with full software capability

·         Axio Observer Z1 inverted microscope for fluorescence or brightfield microscopy

·         Biosafety cabinet & CO2 incubator in adjoining lab

Links to system instructions and technical references:

·         LSM 880 directions (Fralin instrument)

·         Zeiss LSM 880 manual (large pdf)

·         Zeiss webpage for LSM 880

·         Links to Zeiss downloads on LSM 880

·         Zeiss brochure on temperature control

·         Free Zeiss image browser (PC only)

·         Useful microscopy information:

            o   Nikon MicroscopyU

            o   Carl Zeiss Microscopy Online Campus

History of the Fralin Imaging Center (coming soon)

Departments that have used the facility (coming soon)

Image gallery (coming soon)

* fralin_confocal_publications_2000-2016.pdf
Publications using data generated in the Fralin Imaging Center

Have a potential confocal project? Start here!


If you have a potential project, the first step is to visit the facility for a discussion of your plans. We are happy to consult on potential projects and experimental design (for any microscopy or immuno detection-based research, not just confocal).


◆ Training follows a discussion of research plans. The discussion(s) can be at any time, but the training itself will be scheduled when the researcher has samples nearly in hand (days to a week before the researcher wants to start confocal imaging).

◆ Training is individual

◆ Training is two sessions spread over 2–3 days.

            ◇ Cost for training is microscope use fee only ($35/hour)

◆ All users of the Fralin Imaging Facility are requested to acknowledge the facility in formal publications and presentations that include data generated in the facility. We also appreciate receiving PDFs of such publications for our records.


◆ All usage fees go to support the confocal facility

◆ Rate is $35 per hour, with a 1 hour minimum

◇ After the first hour, billing is per quarter hour

◆ No assisted rates

◆ External use rates available


◆ Billing is done quarterly

◆ An itemized bill is emailed to the user, who should check the bill for accuracy and process it for payment through HokieMart


◆ Trained users have access to the facility 24/7.


Kristi DeCourcy, Ph.D.

(540) 231-7959


Confocal training will not be available from June 19–July 16, 2017.