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Olympus Introduces Microdissection Technology 'SmartCut'

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Olympus has introduced a laser microdissection system to reduce sample handling and contamination when isolating cells for downstream analysis in routine applications. 

Olympus claims that, ideal for pathology, forensic medicine, or teaching and educational purposes, the Olympus SmartCut is a tool fully integrated with the inverted Olympus CKX41 microscope.

The Olympus SmartCut is a compact standalone optical-based dissection instrument utilising a solid state UV laser. 

Capable of isolating groups of cells, single cells and cell compartments for molecular analyses, the SmartCut is designed for easy use in daily micromanipulation routines of both fixed and living cells.

Based on the same laser and unique patented isolation technology as the proven CellCut laser microdissection system, the SmartCut’s operation has been simplified so that no sophisticated technical know-how or training is required.

The advanced picosecond laser is controlled by intuitive SmartCut software which also enables cells and components to be identified down the microscope, marked and extracted without any extensive homogenisation or isolation procedures.

The diode pumped 355nm UVa laser is designed to ensure complete stability and provides cutting accuracy, as it is focused through the Olympus UIS2 objective to a beam spot size of less than 1µm.

Specimens are mounted on a special membrane-covered frame and a standard glass slide placed below.

This effectively protects the sample against impurities in the environment, which is particularly crucial for any application involving DNA, or even RNA extraction, where it is essential to minimise contamination.

Microdissected samples are cleanly removed in a single manual step using the unique patented CapLift® technology.

CapLift® uses a specially adapted microcentrifuge tube which is positioned over the cut region, lowered onto the membrane so the adhesive lid of the microcentrifuge tube sticks to the target.

Thus in a quick and clean process the microdissected targets are subsequently lifted away and isolated. To confirm the efficiency of the isolation process and for positive identification purposes, the cap can then be easily focussed upon and viewed.

The tube can then be closed to keep the samples in an isolated environment ready for protein, DNA or RNA extraction.

In addition to enabling identification of the areas to be excised and full control over the laser, the SmartCut software provides further functions.

All data relevant to a session are stored, such as the number and size of cut-out areas, as well as instrument settings and parameters.

The software automatically stores pictures of the clean isolation process. Additional images can be taken at any point and added to the same session folder allowing the user to confirm that the required target areas have been removed correctly.