Bio-Imaging Unit

Leica SP8 (DLS)

Leica SP8 confocal and Digital Light Sheet (DLS)


The SP8 is a point scanning confocal microscope based around a fully motorised, inverted DMi8 body with hardware-enabled focus correction.

The system has two photomultipliers and two HyD detectors for fluorescence imaging and one for transmitted light detection.

The HyD detectors are more sensitive than conventional PMTs, allowing imaging of very weak fluorescence, and can also be used in photon counting mode, providing truly quantitative imaging.

Incorporated into the confocal scan-head are both resonant (fast scanning) and non-resonant (conventional scanning) scanning mirrors.

This allows experimenters to have the option of imaging in high resolution (up to 8192 x 8192 pixels) or at high speed (290fps at 512 x 16 pixels).

Resonant scanning mode has added benefits; for live-cell experiments, photo-sensitive specimens remain alive for longer and fluorophore bleaching is significantly reduced.

The system will also perform regular 2D, 3D and 4D imaging.

The microscope is fully-enclosed in a heated environmental chamber and has the ability to set and maintain temperature and CO2.

For larger specimens, the confocal can be utilised as a Digital Light Sheet system (DLS), allowing very fast multicolour z stack imaging through samples embedding in aqueous medium, ideal for fly and fish embryo or organoid imaging studies.

All image acquisition is controlled via LasX software.


Here you can find the specifications for this microscope.

Imaging modes

Multipoint x,y with tiling (2D), volume x,y,z (3D), fluorescence, FRET, FRAP, brightfield, time-lapse x,y,z,t (4D).

All also available with Digital Light Sheet (DLS), except brightfield.


  • 2.5x (air, 0.07) excitation objective
  • 10x (water, 0.3) emission objective
  • 25x (water, 0.95) emission objective

Example objectives

  • 63 x (oil, 1.4)
  • 40x (oil, 1.3)
  • 40x (air, 0.85)
  • 20x (air, 0.75)
  • 10x (air, 0.4)

Laser lines

  • 405 nm
  • 488nm
  • 552nm
  • 638nm

Filter sets

  • DAPI
  • FITC


This equipment is located in the Campus for Ageing and Vitality.

It is in the Ageing Research Labs room F.20.

Campus for Ageing and Vitality
Newcastle University
Westgate Rd
Newcastle upon Tyne

Here, you can get directions to the building.

Enter your postcode or address to find directions


Find out how to book this microscope.

The minimum booking time for this system is 30 minutes. Time increments of 15 minutes are permitted.

Before booking this equipment, please ensure the following:

  • any users are fully trained, and approved by a member of BioImaging facility staff
  • microscopes are left in a good state of tidiness (lenses/stage should be cleaned of any oil)
  • filters and lenses must not be removed or switched between systems without authorisation from Bioimaging facility staff

If you work at Newcastle University, you can book this microscope online by using iLab.

If you're a commercial company or an academic at another institution, just contact us to discuss your requirements.