Light sheet fluorescence microscopy

Ernst H.K. Stelzer, Frederic Strobl, Bo Jui Chang, Friedrich Preusser, Stephan Preibisch, Katie McDole, Reto P Fiolka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Light sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) uses a thin sheet of light to excite only fluorophores within the focal volume. Light sheet microscopes (LSMs) have a true optical sectioning capability and, hence, provide axial resolution, restrict photobleaching and phototoxicity to a fraction of the sample and use cameras to record tens to thousands of images per second. LSMs are used for in-depth analyses of large, optically cleared samples and long-term three-dimensional (3D) observations of live biological specimens at high spatio-temporal resolution. The independently operated illumination and detection trains and the canonical implementations, selective/single plane illumination microscope (SPIM) and digital scanned laser microscope (DSLM), are the basis for many LSM designs. In this Primer, we discuss various applications of LSFM for imaging multicellular specimens, developing vertebrate and invertebrate embryos, brain and heart function, 3D cell culture models, single cells, tissue sections, plants, organismic interaction and entire cleared brains. Further, we describe the combination of LSFM with other imaging approaches to allow for super-resolution or increased penetration depth and the use of sophisticated spatio-temporal manipulations to allow for observations along multiple directions. Finally, we anticipate developments of the field in the near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number73
JournalNature Reviews Methods Primers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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