The technique used in Optical HREM (high resolution episcopic microscopy) imaging produces stacks of successive, perfectly aligned 2D tissue image samples.
The images produced can be used directly for analysis or to create superbly detailed 3D models.
There are three main steps in Optical HREM imaging to produce 3D visualisations:
After preparation, samples are embedded in a plastic resin that has been made highly fluorescent by the addition of dyes, so opaque and translucent tissue is imaged by suppressing the fluorescence. This results in excellent quality, high resolution images of the block surface, irrespective of the tissue type or developmental stage - different tissue types are easily distinguishable.
Once embedded, samples are sequentially imaged (see video below) at a section thickness of 1-10 microns. Images are captured at the block surface, a section is removed, and the process repeated.
Image data can subsequently be imported directly into 2D or 3D visualisation software for analysis.