Press Release

Doubling the resolution of structured illumination microscopy

New image reconstruction algorithm enhances super-resolution microscope ZEISS Elyra 7

28 April 2021 · 2 min read
  • Elyra 7 Lattice SIM
Press Contact for ZEISS Microscopy Vybhav Sinha

Jena, Germany | 28 April 2021 | ZEISS Research Microscopy Solutions

ZEISS introduces SIM², a groundbreaking image reconstruction algorithm that increases the resolution and sectioning quality of structured illumination microscopy (SIM) data. With SIM² on the microscope system ZEISS Elyra 7, life science researchers can now double the conventional SIM resolution and discriminate the finest subcellular structures of living and fixed samples, even those no more than 60 nm apart.

SIM is an established grid-based illumination technique that allows imaging at resolutions beyond the diffraction limit of optical microscopy. With the introduction of ZEISS Lattice SIM two years ago, ZEISS went a step further and combined the resolution advantages of SIM with a dramatic increase in imaging speed and detection sensitivity, making the super-resolution microscope ZEISS Elyra 7 a preferred choice for live cell imaging. With SIM², the consistent efforts to further develop the ZEISS super-resolution technology are now taking another step further, allowing researchers to exceed previous limits of resolution, imaging speed, and gentleness.

  • With SIM² on the microscope system ZEISS Elyra 7, life science researchers can now double the conventional SIM resolution.

New algorithm enhances resolution, sectioning, and robustness

The new reconstruction algorithm SIM² is superior to conventional image reconstruction methods in terms of resolution, sectioning, and robustness – all without the need for tailor-made staining protocols or expert knowledge of complex microscopy techniques. SIM² not just resolves structures down to 60 nm but allows super-resolution and high-dynamic imaging at the same time – indispensable necessities to observe fast biological processes in living cells or organisms.

Living biological samples at resolutions well below 100 nm

With SIM², researchers can now, for the first time, view details of living biological samples at resolutions well below 100 nm – with speeds of up to 255 frames per second. The ease of access to this high spatiotemporal resolution will enable new discoveries of subcellular functional principles and contribute to a better understanding of the distribution and architecture of organelles. Researchers in developmental biology, neuroscience, plant sciences, and neighboring disciplines will gain more insights into their model organisms and specimens by revealing fast cellular processes, resolving structures in 3D with high penetration depth, and investigating structural changes at the molecular level.

Customers who have been participating in a beta test program immediately recognized the potential of ZEISS Elyra 7 with Lattice SIM² for their research and expressed enthusiasm in view of the new possibilities. Peter O’Toole, Head of Imaging and Cytometry at the University of York: “I remember seeing the first results. I could only laugh as I was simply amazed. My next reaction was to email some of the key users who could immediately benefit. From the tissue neurobiologists, to cell and molecular immunologists, to those working with yeast and those working with bacteria, all of them are already gaining from SIM².”

With the introduction of SIM², ZEISS is taking the next step to continuously develop ZEISS Elyra 7 into the major platform for live cell-compatible super-resolution microscopy. This underscores the ZEISS drive to make advanced imaging technology easily accessible to the scientific community.


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. In the previous fiscal year, the ZEISS Group generated annual revenue totaling 6.3 billion euros in its four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets (status: 30 September 2020).

For its customers, ZEISS develops, produces and distributes highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for the life sciences and materials research, and medical technology solutions for diagnostics and treatment in ophthalmology and microsurgery. The name ZEISS is also synonymous with the world's leading lithography optics, which are used by the chip industry to manufacture semiconductor components. There is global demand for trendsetting ZEISS brand products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses and binoculars.

With a portfolio aligned with future growth areas like digitalization, healthcare and Smart Production and a strong brand, ZEISS is shaping the future of technology and constantly advancing the world of optics and related fields with its solutions. The company's significant, sustainable investments in research and development lay the foundation for the success and continued expansion of ZEISS' technology and market leadership. ZEISS invests 13 percent of its revenue in research and development – this high level of expenditure has a long tradition at ZEISS and is also an investment in the future.

With over 32,000 employees, ZEISS is active globally in almost 50 countries with around 30 production sites, 60 sales and service companies and 27 research and development facilities. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of the largest foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science, is the sole owner of the holding company, Carl Zeiss AG.

Further information at


ZEISS Research Microscopy Solutions

ZEISS Research Microscopy Solutions 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. The unit is headquartered in Jena. Additional production and development sites are located in Oberkochen and Munich, as well as in Cambourne (UK) and Dublin (USA). ZEISS Research Microscopy Solutions is part of the Industrial Quality & Research segment.

Press photo download

  • ZEISS Elyra 7

    With SIM² on the microscope system ZEISS Elyra 7, life science researchers can now double the conventional SIM resolution., With SIM² on the microscope system ZEISS Elyra 7, life science researchers can now double the conventional SIM resolution.

    File size: 1 MB

Share this article