Located in the Science Lab Bldg, College & Fell Av., Normal IL 61790

Supported by funding from the National Science Foundation.

Contact Kevin Edwards for confocal questions or assistance.

ISU is pleased to announce the funding of our new Confocal Microscopy Core Facility. It is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. See the award page for more details

We are working to develop this facility through the Fall of 2018 and hope to be training users starting in Jan. or Feb. 2019. Students: We plan to offer the confocal training course BSC411 (2 cr hr) in Spring 2019 semester.

The existing SP2 facility is functional, and if your experiment cannot wait til January, please contact Kevin Edwards [kaedwar@ilstu.edu] for user information.

Components and capabilities of the ISU Confocal Facility

Leica TCS SP2 Confocal Microscope (Installed 2004)

Microscope: Inverted Leica DM IRE2 HC Fluo TCS 1-B

  • Outfitted for DIC optics and standard fluorescence
  • Galvanometer driven z-stage
  • Trinocular head and color CCD camera, allowing for capture of nonconfocal images


  • HC PL APO 20x/0.70 Multi-immersion- High numerical aperture Plan Apochromat Immersion lens for Water, Glycerol or Oil Immersion.
  • HCX PL APO 40x/1.25-0.75 Oil- High numerical aperture Plan Apochromat lens for Oil Immersion.
  • HCX PL APO 63x/1.4 - 0.6 Oil- High numerical aperture Plan Apochromat lens for Oil Immersion.
  • HCX PL APO 63x/1.20 W Corr/-CS- High numerical aperture Plan Apochromat Immersion lens for Water Immersion with correction collar. For use without coverglass.

Confocal Scan head:

TCS SP 2 Basic Module with spectral detection.


  • 3 Laser sources:
    • Red (HeNe 633 nm)
    • Light Green (561 nm DPSS)
    • Blue (Ar 458-476-488-514 nm)
  • 6 channel Acousto Optical Tunable Filter (AOTF) for laser selection and attenuation.
  • Three channels for confocal fluorescence or reflected light.
  • Low-noise photomultipliers, 8 or 12 bit digitization
  • Transmitted light detector for recording bright field images
  • Spectral range of detector optics 400-800nm
  • Adjustable pupil illumination using Beam Expander
  • Variable, computer controlled detection pinhole diameter
  • Scan resolution up to 4096 x 4096 pixels
  • Zoom 1-32x
  • Scan rotation -2+92 degrees
  • Scan field diagonal 22mm (intermediate image plane)
  • LCS Leica Confocal Software incl. 3D, Physiology, & Multicolor packages.


Once you are approved to use the confocal, Dr. Edwards will provide a link to the online reservation calendar (contract him via e-mail).


The following faculty can be consulted for advice on fluorescence techniques and imaging:

  • Edwards: general confocal information; Drosophila; arthropods; fluorescent protein methods
  • Gatto: cell culture; biochemistry
  • Hammond: fungal samples; fluorescent protein methods
  • Kirik: plants; live imaging
  • A. Mortimer: Drosophila
  • Sedbrook: plants; live imaging
  • Stein: neural imaging
  • Vidal-Gadea: C. elegans; neural imaging
  • Vogel: FACS; mouse tissues; immunological methods


TIPS FOR BETTER CONFOCAL IMAGES: Strategies to fight the battle of signal vs. noise.

Schematic diagram of the scan head: