Leica FusionOptics

What is FusionOptics?

FusionOptics, developed by Leica Microsystems, is an innovative approach that makes advantageous use of a neurophysiological phenomenon: the left beam path provides high field depth, while the right beam path delivers high resolution.

A study carried out jointly by Leica Microsystems and the Institute of Neuroinformatics at the University of Zurich and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology showed how flexibly and powerfully our brain joins visual signals to create an optimal spatial image.

The results provided the basis for an innovation in stereo microscopy which, in terms of resolution and focus depth, has broken through limits that were previously impossible to overcome: FusionOptics™. The significant performance increase attained by FusionOptics™ is highly valuable for everyday work at the microscope.

How does FusionOptics work?

A typical stereo microscope has an inherent optical limitation that makes users choose between either a microscope with a high depth of field OR one that maximizes image resolution.

Stereo microscopes with FusionOptics (exclusively from Leica Microsystems) eliminate this trade-off, allowing users to experience a stereo image with both a high depth of field and high resolution.

With FusionOptics, the right channel delivers an image with the highest possible resolution while the left channel provides an image with maximum depth of field. The human brain does the rest. It creates a three-dimensional image, providing the user with an image that has high depth of field and high resolution.

Typical stereo microscope systems are designed to push magnification, resolution and image quality to the limit permitted by optics. These limits are determined by the correlation between resolution, convergence angle and working distance. Working beyond these limits presents users with imaging problems like:

empty magnification, exaggerated depth perception and shorter working distance.

The higher the microscope resolution, the higher the convergence angle between the left and right beam paths. This results in the lowering of the available working distance to the user, potentially compromising sample manipulation. However, increasing the distance between the optical axes would cause the three-dimensional image seen by the observer to become distorted. A greater zoom range alone is of little use, since with increasing magnification there is not an increase in optical resolution. The result is what is known as ’empty magnification’.

FusionOptics technology, found in many Leica Microsystems stereo microscopes breaks these optical limitations by using two beam paths for different tasks. The right channel delivers a high resolution image at the largest possible numerical aperture. While the left channel presents an image with a high depth of field. The two images are merged in the human brain, providing the user with an image with outstanding richness of detail and outstanding depth of field at the same time. This allows you to see more of your sample and the neccessary working distance to comfortably manipulate the sample.

“In many industrial applications, stereomicroscopes with FusionOptics provide new and better possibilities of examining and evaluating microstructures of materials, components, and products.“

– Dr. Harald Schnitzler of Leica Microsystems’ Industry Division

To learn more about FusionOptics, visit the Leica Microsystems website.