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Compact plane illumination plugin device to enable light sheet fluorescence imaging of multi-cellular organisms on an inverted wide-field microscope.

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We developed a compact plane illumination plugin (PIP) device which enabled plane illumination and light sheet fluorescence imaging on a conventional inverted microscope. The PIP device allowed the integration of microscope with tunable laser sheet profile, fast image acquisition, and 3-D scanning. The device is both compact, measuring approximately 15 by 5 by 5 cm, and cost-effective, since we employed consumer electronics and an inexpensive device molding method. We demonstrated that PIP provided significant contrast and resolution enhancement to conventional microscopy through imaging different multi-cellular fluorescent structures, including 3-D branched cells in vitro and live zebrafish embryos. Imaging with the integration of PIP greatly reduced out-of-focus contamination and generated sharper contrast in acquired 2-D plane images when compared with the stand-alone inverted microscope. As a result, the dynamic fluid domain of the beating zebrafish heart was clearly segmented and the functional monitoring of the heart was achieved. Furthermore, the enhanced axial resolution established by thin plane illumination of PIP enabled the 3-D reconstruction of the branched cellular structures, which leads to the improvement on the functionality of the wide field microscopy.

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