Zeiss Axio Observer (Airlock)

The Zeiss Axio Observer is a flexible inverted microscope that allows scientists to view a range of samples under a variety of conditions.


The Zeiss Axio Observer (Airlock) is an inverted modular microscope that allows for flexible and automated experimental design. With this microscope, scientists can create optimal conditions for a range of samples, from living cells to fixed tissues.

The Axio Observer system is suitable for both labelled and label-free samples. The system contains a full colour camera for imaging of Immunohistochemistry stained samples.  

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

  • two to eight well chamber slides
  • petri dishes
  • multi-well plates
Examples of work
  • Zeiss Axio Observer (Airlock) microscope
  • Microsopy images of toxoplasma parasites
    As the Toxoplasma parasite grows inside a cell, it forms patterns that look like flowers, called rosettes. Simona Seizova is testing new techniques to disable Toxoplasma parasites, as a way to find new treatments for people with toxoplasmosis. These images help to test how effective the techniques are at killing the parasite. Credit: Simona Seizova
  • Snapshot of fat cells
    Cultured adipocytes (fat cells), derived from progenitor cells. Credit: Maria Bergamasco


Objective magnification 5x 10x 20x 40x 63x 100x
Immersion media Air Air Air Water Oil Oil
XY-resolution (µm) 2.22 0.74 0.42 0.28 0.24 0.24
Working distance (mm) 12 2.0 0.55 0.28 0.19 0.17
NA 0.15 0.45 0.8 1.2 1.4 1.4

Light sources

  • LED Illumination: 470 nm, 555 nm and 625 nm
  • Illuminator HXP 120 V (DAPI, GFP, CY3, Texas Red and Cy5 nominal filter sets
  • Bright field illumination (Phase contrast and DIC)

Detection source

  • PCO.Edge sCMOS 16-bit camera 
  • Zeiss Axio cam colour

Technological specifications (capabilities)

Available modalities

  • Z-stack
  • Time-series
  • Tile scan
  • Multi positions

Additional hardware

  • Definite focus
  • Open application development for automated workflow

Unique features

The microscope features a full colour camera for imaging of immunostained slides. 


  • Limited 3D resolution
  • Poor signal-to-noise ratio in brightly labelled samples
  • Photobleaching


This microscope was purchased with the generous support of the Harry Secomb Trust.