Innovative Materials and Processes

“Users and granting agencies need to be confident that data collected on these instruments is uniform and quantifiable both over time and between instruments.”

Microscopy & Microanalysis - 2011

R.F. Stack et al., Microscopy and Microanalysis 17, 598–606 (2011), doi:10.1017/S1431927611000237

What is Argolight mission ?

Argolight addresses a key issue: the difficulty to obtain repeatable results from fluorescent systems. This issue is well known and quoted in several published papers:

– from National Metrology Institutes such as the BAM / Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing:

– from microscopes manufacturers such as Carl Zeiss Microscopy:

The only way to calibrate and monitor a fluorescence system is to reproduce the features we want to measure and to make those features extremely stable and perfectly known.

This solution allows you to monitor your system’s calibration, quantify the bias, and most importantly correct it. 

Argolight uses an exclusive patented technology to induce fluorescent features into glass. Those patterns can reproduce cell-like features for the characteristics of size and fluorescence intensity, that are perfectly known and stable.

Coupled with our software, we provide a complete fluorescence quality management solution.

How do you induce your fluorescent patterns ?

Argolight uses an innovative and patented technology called “fluorescent brush”. This technology induces fluorescent patterns inside transparent materials (from sub-micrometer to centimeter scales) in 3D. This technique combines cutting edge photo-chemistry, optics, and material sciences. The “fluorescent brush” is a non-bleaching technology: all the patterns are stable and re-usable.

How do you manufacture your products ?

The core of the slide consists of a special glass substrate produced in the Argolight facility to insure homogeneity and purity. The glass has a tailored formula developed by our scientists from over 10 years of research. Our facility is located in the Argolight headquarters in France. The glass is set on a metallic carrier, featuring the same dimensions as a standard microscope slide (75 mm × 25 mm), except for its thickness that is 1.5 mm. Throughout the whole process, a precision of less than 10 microns in all 3 dimensions is maintained to insure the highest level of assembly. The patterns are then induced by photonics means at Argolight. The patterns and physical properties of the slides are then characterized by cutting edge measuring systems. Each slide is tested and undergoes internal quality control to ensure meaningful test results.

What kind of patterns can we induce ?

We can control the size, the shape, and the intensity of the patterns. The elementary structure, i.e. the fluorescent element at the root of any pattern, is an empty cylinder whose dimensions can be adjusted: the length (FWHM) can be varied from 0.5 to 10 µm, the diameter (FWHM) from 0.5 to 2 µm, and the wall thickness (FWHM) from 120 to 550 nm. The section of this cylinder is a ring with the corresponding dimensions.

From this elementary structure, any 3D fluorescent pattern can be painted, from sub-micrometer to centimeter scales. Additionally linear, circular or more complex trajectories at different depths can be painted, with different fluorescent intensity levels.

The spectral features of the patterns are remarkable: the excitation and emission ranges are very broad, enabling any chromatic study. The patterns are excitable from 325 to 650 nm (with some limitation depending on the type of slide), and the emission is a continuum ranging from slightly above the excitation wavelength up to 800 nm. The lifetime of the fluorescence is within the nanosecond range.

How stable are the patterns ?

Ageing and reliability studies have been performed on Argolight slides: at 100°C for four months, the emission spectrum of the fluorescent patterns is not modified. We now have more than three years of experience with our products, and our first prototypes, made eight years ago, are still readable and usable today. The fluorescent patterns are guaranteed not to photo-bleach, they can be used for a long period of time (5000 hours), and can be stored without any particular precaution.

What are our certifications ?

Today there is no reliable international standard for fluorescence microscopy. We are working hard to establish one with our international partners from National Metrology Institutes and microscope manufacturers. Argolight is currently evaluating several quality control approaches to propose the first NIST traceable tool for fluorescence microscopy.

Scientific Literature

– A. Royon and N. Converset, “Quality Control of Fluorescence Imaging Systems: A new tool for performance assessment and monitoring”, Optik & Photonik 2, 22-25, DOI: 10.1002/opph.201700005, April 2017. Click here to download the pdf.

– Talley J. Lambert and Jennifer C. Waters, “Navigating challenges in the application of super-resolution microscopy”, Journal of Cell Biology, DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201610011, December 2016. Click here to download the pdf.

– A. Royon and N. Converset, “Quality Control of Fluorescence Imaging Systems. A New Tool for Performance Assessment and Monitoring”, Imaging & Microscopy, May 2016. Click here to download the pdf.

– M. Butzlaff, A. Weigel, E. Ponimaskin, and A. Zeug, “eSIP: A Novel Solution-Based Sectioned Image Property Approach for Microscope Calibration”, PLOS ONE 10(8): e0134980, August 2015. Click here to download the pdf.

– A. Royon, “Quantitative imaging and fluorescence microscopy: Towards quantitative fluorescence microscopy: A new solution for standardization, monitoring, and quality management”, Laser Focus World, June 2015. Click here to download the pdf.

– A. Royon and G. Papon, “Calibration of Fluorescence Microscopes – A New Durable Multi-Dimensional Ruler”,  Imaging and Microscopy, August-September 2013. Click here to download the pdf.

– A. Royon and G. Papon, “Fluoreszierende sub-Mikrometer-Strukturen für die Kalibrierung und Justage von Mikroskopen”, Biophotonik 1, February 2013. Click here to download the pdf.