A mechanical microcompressor for high resolution imaging of motile specimens. Academic Article uri icon


  • In order to obtain fine details in 3 dimensions (3D) over time, it is critical for motile biological specimens to be appropriately immobilized. Of the many immobilization options available, the mechanical microcompressor offers many benefits. Our device, previously described, achieves gentle flattening of a cell, allowing us to image finely detailed structures of numerous organelles and physiological processes in living cells. We have imaged protozoa and other small metazoans using differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy, orientation-independent (OI) DIC, and real-time birefringence imaging using a video-enhanced polychromatic polscope. We also describe an enhancement of our previous design by engineering a new device where the coverslip mount is fashioned onto the top of the base; so the entire apparatus is accessible on top of the stage. The new location allows for easier manipulation of the mount when compressing or releasing a specimen on an inverted microscope. Using this improved design, we imaged immobilized bacteria, yeast, paramecia, and nematode worms and obtained an unprecedented view of cell and specimen details. A variety of microscopic techniques were used to obtain high resolution images of static and dynamic cellular and physiological events.

published proceedings

  • Exp Cell Res

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Zinskie, J. A., Shribak, M., Bruist, M. F., Aufderheide, K. J., & Janetopoulos, C.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Zinskie, Jessica A||Shribak, Michael||Bruist, Michael F||Aufderheide, Karl J||Janetopoulos, Chris

publication date

  • January 2015