Core Biotechnology Services

Zeiss LSM 980 Airyscan 2

Early 2020 we introduced the Zeiss LSM 980 Airyscan 2 system, funded by the BBSRC ALERT18 equipment round. The LSM 980 Airyscan 2 is build on a fully motorized Axio Observer 7 inverted microscope stand with Z-peizo, environmental chamber with temperature and CO2 control and uses the ZEN Blue 3 acquisition and analysis software. To find the fluorescent signal using the eye pieces the user has access to Colibri LED light source to detect DAPI, FITC and TxRed like signals.

The Airyscan 2 includes options for fast imaging with improved resolution. Suitable applications include live cell imaging/time courses, colocalization studies, Photo-activation, FRAP, FRET, spectral imaging, stitching of large areas and imaging of fixed samples.


Acknowledgment in publications

Besides acknowledging the use of the AIF, for example: "We thank the Advanced Imaging Facility (RRID:SCR_020967) at the University of Leicester for support" when publishing results obtained using the Zeiss LSM 980 Airyscan 2 confocal laser scanning microscope, you are also required to acknowledge the BBSRC grant number: BB/S019510/1. See also the publication list.




System specification

Excitation laser lines (solid state lasers)

405nm, 445nm, 488nm, 514nm, 561nm and 639nm


  • NEOFLUAR 2.5x/0.085 WD=8.8mm
  • Plan Apo 10x/0,45 WD=2.0mm
  • Plan Apo 20x/0.8 WD=0.55mm DIC
  • LD LCI PApo 40x/1.2 ImmCorrDIC
  • Plan-Apochromat 63x/1.40 Oil DIC f/ELYRA

Learn more about the objectives.


  • 2 multialkali PMT detectors
  • 32-channel spectral GaAsP detector
  • Airyscan 2 with multiplex mode (see Imaging modes table below)
  • Transmitted light PMT

ZEN 3 modules included

Currently the system runs on ZEN 3.5.

  • Airyscan and Airyscan 2 Multiplex plus
  • Sample Navigator
  • Tiles/Positions
  • Experiment Designer
  • Direct Processing
  • Airyscan Joint Deconvolution

Airyscan 2 imaging modes (data provided by Carl Zeiss)

LSM980  Airyscan SR  Multiplex SR-4Y  Multiplex SR-8Y  Multiplex CO-8Y 
Resolution (nm)*  120/120  140/140  120/160  confocal or better 
Max fps at max field of view (mm)  0.2 (7 at zoom 1, 7)  1 (12 at zoom 1)  2 (12 at zoom 1)  9.6 (12 at zoom 1) 
Max fps 512 x 512  4.7  25  47.5  34.4 
ab fine structure  +++++  ++++  +++  ++ 
ab tiling  ++  ++++ ++++ ++
Live cell imaging ++  +++  ++++  +++++ 

*In SR mode the resolution can be further improved to 90 nm using the ZEN 3 module Airyscan Joint Deconvolution. This works in 2D and 3D. A further improvement in resolution in 2D can be obtained using FEAST imaging (fluctuation-enhanced Airyscan technology). This uses the free SRRF ImageJ plugin on airyscan images, see Wang et al. (2020) Multicomposite super-resolution microscopy: Enhanced Airyscan resolution with radial fluctuation and sample expansions and can obtain a reported resolution of 40 nm. 

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