Fluorescence microscopy is a research technique that relies on the excitation of fluorescent molecules with a specific wavelength region to produce an image generated by the secondary fluorescence emission at longer wavelengths. Fluorescence microscopes are equipped with reflected light illuminators that incorporate neutral density filters and a specialised combination of interference filters to segregate incident illumination from the detected fluorescence emission.

The advantage of fluorescence for microscopy is that you can often attach fluorescent dye molecules to specific parts of your sample, so that only those parts are the ones seen in the microscope. You can also use more than one type of dye. By changing the excitation light, you can cause one type of dye to fluoresce and then another to distinguish two different parts of your sample. Examples of this are different cell types within a tissue or different targets within a cell.

Techniques used for brightfield imaging include phase contrast and differential interference contract.

Contact us

Contact Dr Steven Mason for more information and bookings.

Equipment and location

Our instruments are located in the Molecular Biosciences Building (Building 76). Room numbers are indicated below.

  • Nikon Laboratory Ts2 inverted bright-field (phase contrast) microscope with colour imaging system (76-414)
  • Nikon Laboratory Eclipse Ts2 FL inverted bright-field and epi-fluorescent microscope with imaging system (76-414)
  • Nikon Basic Research Eclipse Ti inverted bright-field and epi-fluorescent microscope with imaging system (76-111)
  • ZEISS Research Axioplan 2 epifluorescent/light microscope with high-resolution ZEISS Axiocam MRm greyscale digital camera (76-111)
  • ZEISS AxioImager.M2 high-end, motorised, research-class microscope with high-resolution ZEISS Axiocam 506 colour and Axiocam 506 mono digital cameras and Colibri 7 LED Illumination system for epi fluorescence and Apotome.2 for 3D optical sectioning (76-541)​
    • Capabilities:
      • multitrack imaging
      • tile and positional imaging
      • panorama
      • optical sectioning and 3D image manipulation
      • measurement
      • manual extended focus
      • autofocus
      • deconvolution on off-line workstation
    • Software for Zeiss images:
      • an online NAS drive is available for storage of acquired images
      • our associated image and data analysis software includes Imaris 9.2, and ZEN deconvolution

Contact the Facility Manager for more information and full specifications, configurations and capabilities for the microscopy and imaging equipment.

Sample requirements

For optimal imaging resolution and image quality, prepare your samples based on the type of sample and imaging surface or vessel used. Discuss this with the Facility manager.

The AxioImager.M2 microscope requires a 170um coverslip thickness for all objectives.

The Axioplan 2 microscope requires a 170um coverslip thickness for most objectives.

The Axioplan 2 upright microscope has a water dipping objective available.

Charges and considerations


Consultation is free.

External users: fees by negotiation with the Facility Manager.

SCMB and UQ fees: contact the Facility manager for details.


You'll need to undertake the relevant building, equipment and other inductions before using equipment.

You'll require a UQ username to access the booking calendar via public folders in Microsoft Outlook.

UQ users have priority of access.