Zeiss LSM 780 Confocal

The Zeiss LSM 780 is a high resolution laser scanning confocal microscope for producing three-dimensional (3D) data from single cells to large tissue sections.


The Zeiss LSM 780 Confocal is an inverted modular microscope that allows for 3D high resolution imaging of a large variety of samples.

It is compatible with a variety of sample chambers, including: 

  • two to eight-well chamber slides
  • petri dishes 
  • multi-well plates 

This microscope provides scientists with the ability to create an optimal environment to image samples from living cells to fixed tissues. Available controls include:

  • temperature control
  • CO2 control
  • mixed gas 
Examples of work
  • Zeiss LSM 780 microscope
    The Zeiss LSM 780 microscope at the Institute
  • Isolated airway stem cells from a lung cancer patient
    Isolated airway stem cells from a lung cancer patient. The dark blue marks the nuclei of each cell, whilst the light blue is lung protein that provides structure to airways. Credit: Casey Ah-Cann
  • Lung stem cells
    A pneumosphere of lab-grown lung stem cells. Credit: Casey Ah-Cann
  • Microscope view of a developing lung
    Embryonic lung in the very early stages of development, showing stem cells in yellow. Credit: Casey Ah-Cann
  • Cells in the embryo
    Each single dot in the embryo represents a cell. Dark blue are alive, while more brightly stained cells are undergoing apoptosis. Credit: Francine Ke
  • Vessels in the skin
    Blood vessels (blue), lymphatic vessels (green) and blood cells (white) observed leaking from vessels in the skin of a preclinical model with no platelets. Credit: Alison Farley
  • Magnification of lung tissue
    Magnification of developing lung tissue is used to closely examine the individual cell types responsible for helping the lung to form. Credit: Casey Ah-Cann
  • Clusters of lung stem cells
    When lung stem cells are isolated and grown in the laboratory, they are unable to form a normal lung shape without the signals they would ordinarily receive from other cells in the body. As they grow, the clusters become powerful research tools with which to examine the hundreds of cells associated with lung development. Credit: Casey Ah-Cann
  • Image of layers of the brain cortex
    The colours each represent a different layer of the higher cortex of the brain during development. By colouring and layering brain tissue, researchers can study the impact of disrupting or altering genes at different stages of brain development. Credit: Maria Bergamasco
  • Microscopy image of lung tissue
    A lung in its very early stages of development. Researchers can study lung disease origins by blocking the function of particular genes and observing how the organ is affected. Credit: Casey Ah-Cann

Video: Breast tissue is made up of ductal networks that end in lobular structures. These structures are the most common site of breast cancer formation. Credit: Caleb Dawson, Bianca Capaldo



Objective size 10 20 25 40 40 63 63 100
NA 0.45 0.8 0.8 1.3 1.2 1.4 1.2 1.46
Immersion media Air Air Multi Water/Glycerine/Oil Oil Water Oil Water Oil
XY-resolution (µm) (@ 488 nm) 0.661 0.372 0.372/0.372/0.372 0.229 0.248 0.212 0.248 0.203
Z-resolution (µm) (@ 488 nm) 4.819 1.524 2.031/2.246/2.314 0.876 0.902 0.755 0.902 0.695
Working distance (mm) 2.000 0.550 0.570 0.210 0.28 0.190 0.28 0.11

Light sources

  • Argon laser – 458 nm, 488 nm and 514 nm
  • Diode laser – 405 nm
  • Diode pumped solid state laser – 561 nm
  • HeNe laser – 633 nm

Detection source

  • 32 channel GaAsP array detection
  • Transmitted-PMT 

Technological specifications (capabilities)

Available modalities

  • Z-stack
  • Time-series
  • Tile scan
  • Multi positions
  • Spectral linear unmixing
  • Online fingerprinting
  • Single point FCS
  • FRAP

Unique features

The Zeiss LSM 780 microscope performs spectral unmixing using a 32 channel GaAsP array detection system. This allows for imaging highly multiplexed fluorescence in biological systems. 


  • Slow acquisition not suited for fast 3D imaging
  • Photobleaching


This microscope is provided with generous support of the Harry Secomb Trust and the Harold & Cora Brennen Benevolent Trust.