A new microscope can quickly generate 3D images of living organisms

It will allow researchers to better observe animals while they develop.

A new microscope created by researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid has the ability to take fast 3D images, making it easier to observe cells in living animals over time. For example, Jorge Ripoll, one of the researchers on the project and co-founder of the company set to produce the scope -- 4D Nature -- said in a statement, "We can see how the heart of a zebrafish beats and make a 3D- reconstruction of its beat."

The QIs-scope, as it's called, can take up to 200 images per second -- way more than the five per second most confocal microscopes on the market can capture now. It also comes with four lasers that each emit a flat beam, but two more can be attached to bring that total up to six. With multiple lasers, different types of cells labeled with different colors of fluorescent dye can be imaged around the same time, without researchers having to switch out filters every time they want to look at a different cell type.

The microscope takes quick images from different positions in order to generate a 3D image and all of the lasers, cameras, filters and motors involved in that process have to be managed by sophisticated software. "Our goal is for the QIs-scope to be easy to use with intuitive software, so that the user can see the specimen and choose where to make the scans, choose the excitation colors and generate a three-dimensional image with as many colors as were chosen." said Ripoll.