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The Mesolens is a giant microscope objective designed for computer data acquisition rather than the human eye. It arose from a realization in the early days of confocal microscopy that confocal images could not be obtained of large specimens, because the available low magnification objectives had too poor a resolution in depth.

We have created with an unprecedented numerical aperture of nearly 0.5 at a magnification of 4x. This results in a field size of 6 mm, with a working distance of 3 mm, and the possibility to resolve sub-cellular detail throughout this large volume in x, y and z.

Funded by the Medical Research Council 'Next Generation Optical Microscopy Initiative' and supported by the NC3Rs, EPSRCBBSRC and the Leverhulme Trust, we have created an imaging technology centre around the Mesolens called the Mesolab. If you would like to discuss collaborative research opportunities, please contact us.

Technical specification

Magnification: 4x
Numerical aperture: 0.47
Image volume: 6 mm x 6 mm x 3 mm
Measured resolution at 550 nm: 0.7 microns lateral, 7 microns axial

Immersion fluid: water, glycerol, Type DF oil
Imaging modes: camera (brightfield, darkfield, widefield epi-fluorescence), confocal laser scanning (fluorescence, reflection, differential phase contrast), light-sheet, TIRF
Excitation wavelengths for fluorescence imaging: LEDs from 365 nm to 660 nm for widefield epi-fluorescence imaging, lasers from 405 nm to 640 nm for confocal laser-scanning mesoscopy
Detectors: high pixel number camera for bright field and widefield epi-fluorescence imaging, photomultipliers (3-channel) for confocal laser-scanning mesoscopy
Other lasers and photodetectors are available upon request.


Image gallery

The images below are only an example of what we can do with the Mesolens using different imaging modes. For more information, please check our our recent publications or contact us.


Single confocal mesoscopy image of almost half of a mouse brain. The specimen was stained to show, as bright dots, SOD1 protein aggregates.


Three-colour confocal mesoscopy image of a 16 micron thick section of mouse kidney

mouse embryo labelled flat.jpg

Two-colour confocal mesoscopic

optical section of an e12.5

mouse embryo


Brightfield Mesolens image of an

H&E stained section of mouse embryo, showing the snout.

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