ZEISS Microscopy is the world's only one-stop manufacturer of light, electron, X-ray and ion microscope systems and offers solutions for correlative microscopy. The portfolio comprises of products and services for life sciences, materials and industrial research, as well as education and clinical practice.
With its unique portfolio, constant innovations and strong partnerships, ZEISS Microscopy enables leading researchers to find answers to our society’s most pressing challenges and drive scientific discovery forward. A dedicated and well-trained sales force and a responsive service team enable customers to use their ZEISS microscopes to their full potential.
ZEISS has been producing high-precision microscopes since the middle of the 19th century. From 1857 onwards, the simple models were followed by compound microscopes. Thanks to the work of scientist Ernst Abbe, microscopes have been based on theoretical calculations since 1872. This enabled the production of large numbers of microscopes to the same exceptional quality.
In addition to scientific applications, the microscopes came to be used for routine tasks in clinics, for checking materials, and for educational purposes. The development of microscopes kept advancing, resulting in new models with new technologies.
Carl Zeiss opens a workshop for precision mechanics and optics in Jena.
Simple microscope with doublet and triplet optics. Production of simple microscopes begins.
Carl Zeiss sells his first compound microscope.
Begin of partnership with Ernst Abbe.
Illumination apparatus with focusable condenser: Ernst Abbe
Ernst Abbe's research results allow microscope optics to be produced on the basis of mathematical calculations for the first time.
Partnership between Zeiss, Abbe and Schott. Optical glass from Otto Schott (picture) enables more effectively corrected microscope systems. © Carl Bräunlich, ZEISS Archives.
First apochromatic microscope lens, a color-corrected objective lens for three wavelengths based on the calculations of Ernst Abbe.
Illumination device with separate control of the luminous field and condenser aperture: August Köhler (1866-1948).
ZEISS manufactures the first Greenough-type stereomicroscope.
Invention of the ultramicroscope by Henry Siedentopf and Richard A. Zsigmondy.
Beginning of TEM development by AEG. ZEISS delivers inspection microscopes for the first TEM.
First prototype of a phase-contrast microscope based on Zernike's original design; he wins the Nobel Prize in 1953.
Plan Apochromats and Plan Achromats with a flat image field for micro-photography based on calculations by Hans Boegehold.
Cooperation for electron microscopy started by AEG and ZEISS.
Electrostatic AEG-ZEISS transmission electron microscope EM 8.
The Standard microscope becomes one of the most successful models in the history of ZEISS.
Beginning of SEM development in association with the Cambridge University: Cambridge Instruments establishes as a scientific instrument company.
Cambridge Scientific Instruments releases the first commercial SEM, the Stereoscan Mark I.
Axiomat, a microscope with unparalled stability and image quality.
The laser scanning microscope, a microscope system with object scanning through an oscillating laser beam and electronic image processing.
EM 902 with imaging electron energy filter becomes first system on the market to generate high-resolution element mapping images.
ZEISS launches the first fully digital SEM, the DSM 950.
ZEISS unveils the "pyramids", a new generation of microscopes. The design includes special features of Axioplan, Axiophot, and Axiothron.
Market launch of DSM 982 GEMINI field emission scanning electron microscope featuring combined electrostatic-magnetic lens (GEMINI technology).
Founding of LEO Electron Microscopy 50/50 Cooperation between ZEISS and Leica
PlasDIC by ZEISS allows the use of plastic dishes for microscopic examinations.
LEO fully integrated in ZEISS as Nano Technology Systems Division.
LSM 5 LIVE enters series production and receives the R&D 100 Award. Its users can examine living cells 20 times faster and in a particularly gentle manner.
ZEISS introduces the ORION helium-ion microscope. Samples are scanned with helium ions instead of electrons providing markedly better resolution and improved material contrast.
Carl Zeiss NTS GmbH and Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH jointly form a new business group offering light and electron microscopes.
With the acquisition of U.S.-based Xradia, Inc. ZEISS becomes the only manufacturer of light, electron and X-ray microscopes for research and routine inspection in materials and life sciences.
ZEISS MultiSEM 505, a 61-beam (multi-beam) SEM and fastest SEM in the world, is introduced to the market.
Prominent scientists put their trust in ZEISS microscopes when conducting research. Robert Koch, who discovered the bacterium that causes tuberculosis in 1900, was just one of them.
To this very day, researchers from all over the world use light, electron/ion and X-ray microscopes from ZEISS to make even the smallest structures and processes visible. Their achievements have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.
Image source for all images of the Nobel Prize Laureates: The Nobel Foundation.
Koch is considered the founder of modern bacteriology. In the eighteen-eighties, the country doctor discovered the bacilli that caused tuberculosis and cholera. In a letter to Carl Zeiss he wrote, "A large part of my success I owe to your excellent microscopes". In 1904, he received the 10,000th ZEISS objective, a homogeneous immersion system, as a present.
Santiago Ramón y Cajal was a spanish neuroscientist and histologist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1906 with the Italian physician and scientist Camillo Golgi for their studies of the structure of the nervous system. Cajal used advanced devices of its time, inter alia a ZEISS microscope.
The Swedish ophthalmologist Allvar Gullstrand is considered one of the founders of modern ophthalmology. In 1911 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work, together with Moritz von Rohr, carried out for dioptric apparatus of the eye, with which they made the correction of refractive errors of the eye through the lens on a scientific basis.
As a professor at Goettingen, Zsigmondy conducted pioneering research in colloid chemistry. He invented the ultramicroscope in 1903, and two types of membrane filters in 1918 and 1922. Ultramicroscopy after Siedentopf and Zsigmondy makes visible submicroscopic particles whose linear extension is below the microscope's resolution limit.
The Dutch physicist, when experimenting with reflection gratings in 1930, discovered that he could observe the phase position of each ray, and sought to utilize the effect for microscopy. Together with ZEISS he developed the first phase-contrast microscope, the prototype of which was made in 1936. It allowed the examination of living cells without harmful chemical staining.
The molecular biologist and director of the Max Planck Institute in Goettingen developed a method of keeping track of extremely fast chemical and biochemical processes. In a joint effort, Eigen, his Swedish colleague Rudolf Riegler and ZEISS succeeded in 1993 to create ConfoCor, the first commercial fluorescence correlation spectrometer.
Together with Professor Sakman, he discovered the fundamental mechanism of communication between cells. Their studies included electrophysiological examinations of ion channels by means of the patch clamp technique.
The German biologist Nüsslein-Volhard studies the genetic control of embryonic development with ZEISS microscopes. The focus of her scientific work was the question of how the complex organisms of humans and animals develop from an egg cell and what the basic mechanisms are.
Günter Blobel has increased the understanding of how proteins are transported and arrive at their destination. His research has contributed to a better understanding of several hereditary diseases which are due to the lack of protein transport. Günter Blobel works at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute with ZEISS microscopes, e.g. Axiophot and Axiovert.
The winner of the Carl Zeiss Research Award 1992 is working in the field of femtosecond spectroscopy. He made very fast chemical reactions at single molecules directly observable with high spatial and temporal resolution. Zewail was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on femtochemistry.
Cornell is an American physicist who, along with Carl E. Wieman, was able to synthesize the first Bose–Einstein condensate in 1995. Therefore Cornell, Wieman, and Wolfgang Ketterle shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001. Before he received the Nobel Prize Cornell was awarded the Carl Zeiss Research Award.
Nurse, Hartwell and Hunt were awarded jointly for their pioneering, fundamental discoveries of critical components and processes which control the cell cycle - the growth and proliferation of cells.
Brenner, Horvitz and Sulston identified genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans that are responsible for the regulation of organ development and programmed cell death (apoptosis).
Craig Mello and Andrew were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2006 for the discovery of RNA interference. In 1998 they published a paper in Nature detailing how tiny snippets of RNA fool the cell into destroying the gene's messenger RNA (mRNA) before it can produce a protein - effectively shutting specific genes down.
With dogged persistence, physician zur Hausen worked on his theory that viruses can cause cancer – contrary to prevailing doctrines. He received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for proving his theory and thus destroying a medical dogma. Harald zur Hausen worked with a ZEISS transmission electron microscope.
Osamu Shimomura, Professor Emeritus at Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008 together with two American scientists: Martin Chalfie of Columbia University and Roger Tsien of the University of California-San Diego. They discovered and developed the green fluorescent protein (GFP) for use in cell biology. By fluorescence of GFP, the spatial and temporal distribution of other proteins in living cells, tissues or organisms can be observed directly, thus laying the foundation for modern fluorescence microscopy.
Sir Andre Geim, a physicist working at the University of Manchester, was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics together with the Russian physicist Konstantin Novoselov "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene".
Dan Shechtman, 70, is a professor of materials science at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. He was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "the discovery of quasicrystals". Quasicrystalline materials could be used in a large number of applications, including the formation of durable steel used for fine instrumentation, and non-stick insulation for electrical wires and cooking equipment.
Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012 "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent". Stem cells could replace destroyed tissue in future.
Gurdon uses ZEISS confocal microscopes for research. Working with ZEISS laser microdissection systems Yamanaka extracted genetic material free from contamination. ZEISS has created protocols for LCM applications together with him.
The break-through work of the three laureates in developing superresolution microscopy methods contributed significantly to groundbreaking scientific research over the past 10 years. With this Nobel Prize the Nobel Committee recognizes the importance of superresolution light microscopy for advances in research and science. ZEISS exclusively licensed PALM, developed jointly by Eric Betzig and Harald Hess, as a superresolution technique for single-molecule localization with the ELYRA PS.1 microscope system.
The discoveries of John O´Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries – how does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment? May-Britt and Edvard Moser used various ZEISS light and stereo microscopes for their discovery and ongoing research of the so-called “grid cells” of the nervous system.
Arthur Ashkin invented optical tweezers that grab particles, atoms, molecules, and living cells with their laser beam fingers.
Based on this technology, ZEISS has developed PALM MicroTweezers – an optical tweezers system that allows precise, contact-free cell manipulation as well as the trapping, moving, and sorting of microscopic particles such as beads or even subcellular particles.
The ZEISS Microscopy headquarter is located in Jena, Germany. Further production and development sites are in Cambridge (UK), Oberkochen (Germany), Munich (Germany) and Pleasanton (USA).
The strategic business unit has 24 sales and service organizations around the globe, and an international network of distribution partners. Additionally, eight ZEISS Microscopy Customer Centers worldwide provide demo sessions, training courses and user meetings on the most state-of-the-art microscope systems.