Make your own Fluorescence Microscope with Diode Lasers

Fluorescence microscopy, especially with applications such as TIRF and super-resolution, requires high powered light sources at multiple wavelengths. Here we talk about NicoLase which is “an open-source diode laser combiner, fiber launch, and software sequence controller” as a DIY way to create a multi-purpose fluorescence light source.

The NicoLase set up uses Vortan Stratus laser diode units–although any laser diodes should work–and a series of mirrors to combine the lasers into a single fiber launch. This allows for a compact set up and compatibility with a variety of microscopes. Notably, they have developed control software to trigger cameras and lasers which is available on GitHub.

They sum up the pros and cons of their system very well:
“Basically, this system does not do anything you can’t buy. But the final cost here is 2/3 to 1/2 of the cost of commercial instruments and can be easily customized in terms of size, number of lines, and final configuration. The system here is cheap (ish), flexible, and quite compact. “