Nanolive 3D Cell Explorer

Live Cell Imaging with the 3D Cell Explorer: Take your Cell Research to the Next Dimension

A Self-Adjusting, Holotomographic Microscope

This 3D holotomographic live cell microscope is the result of years of work and development. Through a combination of holography and rotational scanning the system detects changes to light as it propagates through the cell, i.e. the 4D distribution of the physical refractive index (RI) within the cell.

The sample is positioned between a high-numerical-aperture air objective beneath the sample and a rotational illumination arm above. Green light (520 nm) from a laser diode is split into sample and reference beams. The sample is illuminated with a laser beam inclined at 45° which rotates around the sample 360°. A series of holograms is recorded on a digital camera by combining the beam that has passed through the sample with the reference beam. 

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Instant preparation-free and staining-free imaging

Are you tired of preparing and staining your samples? This innovative technology from Nanolive allows, for the first time, to explore instantly a live cell in 3D without any labeling or chemical marker. No fixation + No labeling = No alteration of the cell’s normal physiology.

Non-Invasive 3D Characterization

Live cell imaging in physiological conditions without any bleaching or phototoxicity.  Eliminate bleaching and photo-toxicity: The 3D Cell Explorer uses a low power green laser light. Image your live cells as long as you need in their natural state with a compatible top stage incubator.

A major problem with current imaging techniques is phototoxicity that leads to the observation of perturbed dynamics. Consequently, the mitigation of phototoxicity leads to poor time resolution of time lapse approaches. This is particularly true for small organelles like mitochondria or lipid droplets that are extremely sensitive to photo-induced oxidation. Last but not least, the use of chemical or genetically-encoded fluorescent markers perturbs the targeted biological processes.

However, the 3D Cell Explorer overcomes this problematic as it injects in the sample ~100 times less energy (~0.2 nW/µm2) than light sheet microscopes (~1nW/µm2) that are the reference in the matter. With a resolution below 200 nm, it enables high resolution and high-frequency imaging even with sensitive material, giving access to organelle dynamics that were previously out of reach.

Label Free 4D Continuous Observation

Nanolive’s 3D Cell Explorer opens the door for new observations and for long-term live cell imaging (up to weeks of continuous imaging) with unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution (<200nm; 1img/2sec).


High resolution and high sensitivity characterization of multiple cell organelles based on their refractive index. The 3D Cell Explorer measures the quantitative refractive index of each cell’s organelle at every second. Segment this data in 3D using our interactive digital stains based on the cell’s physical refractive index.


  • Resolution: Δx,y = 200nm; Δz = 400nm

  • Field of View: 85 x 85 x 30 μm 

  • Tomography Frame Rate: 0.5 fps 3D image rate with full self-adjustement 

  • Objective: Air with 60x magnification

  • Illumination: Class 1 laser low power (λ=520 nm, sample exposure 0.2 mW/mm2)

  • Accessible Sample Stage: 60 mm of free access to the sample stage for sample manipulation

  • Dimensions: 38 cm x 17 cm x 45 cm