Cerna® Microscope for Epi-Fluorescence and DIC in the Visible and NIR

  • Equipped with Six-Position Epi-Illuminator and DIC Imaging Modules
  • Ready to Accept Objectives, Cameras, Filters, and
    Illumination Sources

Cerna® Microscope Kit 6

(Optical Table Not Included)

Combined DIC and Epi-Fluorescence of
Mouse Kidney Cells Using a Cerna Microscope

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Cerna Microscope CM3001 Side View
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Side View of Cerna Microscope Kit 6
(Optical Table Sold Separately)


  • Six-Position Epi-Illuminator and DIC Modules Support Visible and NIR Imaging
  • Large and Open Working Space Underneath the Objective
    • Ideal for Sample Apparatuses, Recording Chambers, and Micromanipulators
  • Compatible with Thorlabs' and Major Manufacturers' Objectives, Scientific Cameras, Fluorescence Filters, and Illumination Sources
  • Modular Design Allows User to Modify the Microscope's Optical Path

This Cerna® microscope configuration provides an optical path ideal for obtaining high contrast from cell cultures and thin samples. It features a DIC imaging and brightfield module with visible and near-infrared (NIR) LEDs for illumination. This LED combination allows the user to place micropipettes very accurately with the aid of NIR DIC, then use visible fluorescence to monitor physiological changes without having to relocate the region of interest (ROI). In addition, this microscope kit includes a six-position epi-illuminator module, which is ideal for multi-channel epi-fluorescence studies. Together, these modules provide easily co-registered fluorescence and DIC images of the field of view.

A dual-objective nosepiece, compatible with M25 x 0.75-threaded objectives, lets you locate an ROI using a low-magnification objective and then image using a high-magnification objective. Motorized objective and condenser focusing modules, each with 1" of travel, provide fine-tuned positioning along the optical axis. We have also equipped the microscope with a variable-magnification double camera port that lets two cameras be individually dedicated to reflected light imaging, epi-fluorescence, DIC, or other imaging modalities.

Unlike competing microscopes with similar capabilities, the Cerna platform's modularity lets the user quickly install and remove the microscope modules as needed for each experiment, providing a high degree of access and control. For example, when the trans-illumination modules are installed, in vitro samples can be studied using epi-fluorescence and DIC imaging, as well as with basic widefield and brightfield illumination. To free room underneath the objective for large sample holding apparatuses, the trans-illumination modules can be removed, providing a path for in vivo studies.

To address a wide range of experimental parameters, Thorlabs offers seven Cerna microscope configurations, which are summarized in the table below. In addition, we can work with you to configure a microscope that meets your unique needs. To contact our team, please e-mail We also offer Cerna components individually for custom modifications.

Cerna Microscopes Kit 1 Kit 2 Kit 3 Kit 4 Kit 5 Kit 6 Kit 7
Objective Holder Single Single Single Dual Dual Dual Dual
Epi-Illumination 1 Cube Up to 6 Filter Sets 1 Cube Up to 6 Filter Sets Up to 6 Filter Sets Up to 6 Filter Sets Up to 6 Filter Sets
Trans-Illumination - - Brightfield
Dodt Contrast
and Brightfield
Dodt Contrast
and Brightfield
(Visible and NIR)
DIC Imaging
and Brightfield
(Visible and NIR)
DIC Imaging
and Brightfield
(Visible and NIR)
XY Motion
- - - - Microscope
- Translating Platform

Cerna® Microscope Kit 6

This Cerna microscope kit was designed from our line of modular components to provide several convenient features for imaging, highlighted below. We also offer a selection of microscope objectives, scientific-grade cameras, fluorescence filters, and illumination sources that can be used to complement this microscope configuration and customize it to your experiment. Details can be found on the Microscope Add-Ons tab. The Kit Components tab details the components used in this microscope configuration, as well as a link to each component's webpage, where additional information (such as mechanical drawings) is available.



This microscope is able to target multiple fluorophores through the use of a six-position epi-illuminator module that couples light emitted by the illumination source into the imaging path, through the objective, and onto the sample. The epi-fluorescence generated by the sample passes through the module to the eyepieces and camera. A D3T female dovetail on the rear of the microscope accepts a wide range of white-light lamps. The illumination path includes AR-coated conditioning optics, a field stop diaphragm, and a shutter.

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This Cerna® microscope kit features an epi-illuminator module with a 6-position filter turret. The filter position is labeled on the knurled wheel that rotates the turret.
Cerna Epi-Illuminator
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The rotating turret accommodates up to six filter sets (not included).
Cerna Epi-Illuminator
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The back of the epi-illuminator module has a female D3T dovetail that can be adapted to accept liquid light guides and LEDs.

Closed Filter Cube Turret
Click for Details

DIC imaging in the visible and NIR is enabled by the six-position epi-illuminator module, a DIC-compatible objective holder, and two LEDs.

Trans-Illumination (DIC Imaging)


  • Supports DIC Imaging and Brightfield Illumination in the Visible and NIR
  • Motorized Condenser Focusing Module with 1" Travel
  • 0.78 NA Long-Working-Distance Condenser

This microscope kit includes the specific Cerna components that are needed to perform DIC imaging, which include the six-position epi-illuminator, a compatible objective holder, and all DIC optics except DIC objective prisms/sliders, which are objective-specific. Please see the full web presentation for additional information.

The motorized condenser provides fine focusing control over a 1" travel range. Thorlabs offers additional condensers and condenser mounting options to tailor the microscope to individual needs. Bright illumination in the visible and NIR regions of the spectrum is generated by the included illumination kit (Item # WFA1051), which uses Thorlabs' mounted LEDs. Additional mounted LEDs may be found here; please contact us for compatibility with a Cerna microscope.

Microscope Body
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The vertical support rail holds modules in the optical path such as the nosepiece, condenser, and trans-illumination module for DIC imaging.

Microscope Body


  • Large Working Volume: Optical Path is 7.74" (196.5 mm) Away from Edge of Rail
  • Linear Dovetail Surface Allows Modules to be Added and Removed
  • 400 mm Body Height Provides Space for DIC Imaging Module
  • Motorized Objective Focusing Module with 1" Travel
  • Mechanically Compatible with Thorlabs' 95 mm Rail Platforms

The 95 mm vertical support rail is the backbone of the Cerna microscope; modeled from Thorlabs' Precision 95 mm Optical Rails, it provides stable long-term support and excellent vibrational damping. Its linear dovetail mounting surface allows modules to be removed when they are not needed, freeing additional workspace and opening the door to user customization. For alternate rail heights, please see the full web presentation.

Add-On: Widefield Viewing

Widefield Viewing
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This microscope kit includes a double camera port that allows cameras to be individually dedicated to different imaging modalities.

Widefield Viewing


  • Variable-Magnification Double Camera Port for Independent Visible and NIR Cameras
    • Fixed Magnification for Front Camera
    • Variable Magnification for Rear Camera
  • Trinoculars with 10X Magnification and Adjustable Interpupil Distance

This part of the microscope visualizes and records sample images in the visible and near-infrared (NIR) regions of the spectrum. Visible light, which is generated by fluorophores and fiducial markers, is directed to the front camera port, while NIR light, which is used in DIC imaging, is directed to the rear camera port. For additional camera port and camera tube options, please see the full web presentation.

Objective Holders and Objectives

Add-On: Objectives


  • Use Low Magnification to Find the Region of Interest, then High Magnification to Image
  • Compatible with M25 x 0.75-Threaded Objectives (Nikon)
  • Compatible with RMS-Threaded Objectives (Olympus) by using an RMSA1 Thread Adapter

The dual-objective nosepiece offers direct compatibility with M25 x 0.75-threaded objectives, and by adding an RMSA1 thread adapter (sold separately), compatibility with RMS-threaded objectives is enabled. For other objective mounting options, please see the full web presentation. Microscope objectives are available for purchase separately from Thorlabs, and we can also order other objectives outside our catalog upon request. Keep in mind that the total system magnification will depend upon the objective chosen; see the Objective, Scan, and Tube Lens Tutorial for details.

Dual-Objective Nosepiece
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This Cerna microscope kit features a dual objective changer. Adjusters on either side of the nosepiece provide fine parfocal adjustment.
Low-Magnification Objective
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10X and 40X objectives (not included) mounted in the CM2001 microscope's dual objective nosepiece. The 10X objective is currently positioned in the optical path.
High-Magnification Objective
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The dual-objective nosepiece of the CM2001 microscope shown with a 40X high-power objective (not included) in the optical path.

This kit configuration is constructed from our modular Cerna® components. See the comprehensive list below for each included item.

Item # Qty. Description Photo
(Click to Enlarge)
Microscope Body
CEA1400 1 Cerna Microscope Body with Epi-Illumination Arm, 400 mm Tall Cerna Microscope Body
Widefield Viewing
LAURE1 1 Trinoculars with Eyepieces Trinoculars
TC1X 1 1X Camera Tube with C-Mount Camera Tube
CSD1001 1 Variable Magnification Double Camera Port Variable Magnification Double Camera Port
CSE2100 1 Epi-Illuminator Module for Six Filter Sets (Filter Sets Not Included) Epi-Illuminator Module for Six Filter Sets (Filter Sets Not Included)
CSC2001 1 LWD Condenser, 0.78 NA LWD Condenser, 0.78 NA
Objective & Condenser Mounting
CSN1202 1 Dual-Objective Nosepiece Dual-Objective Nosepiece
CSA1200 1 Mounting Arm for CSN1202 Nosepiece Mounting Arm for CSN1202 Nosepiece
BSA2000 1 Compact Condenser Mounting Arm with ±2.5 mm Travel per Adjuster Compact Condenser Mounting Arm
ZFM2020 1 Motorized Focusing Module with 1" Travel for Edge-Mounted Arms Motorized Condensor Module with 1 inch Travel
ZFM2030 1 Motorized Focusing Module with 1" Travel for Middle-Mounted Arms Motorized Condensor Module with 1 inch Travel
MCM3001 1 3-Axis Controller for Focus Control Focus Controller
Trans-Illumination: DIC Imaginga
WFA1000 1 Brightfield Illumination / DIC Imaging Module DIC Imaging Module
WFA0150 1 Transmitted Light Module Dovetail Clamp Transmitted Light Module Dovetail Clamp
WFA3100 1 Polarizer Turret Polarizer Turret
WFA3000 1 DIC Polarizer Turret Adapter DIC Polarizer Turret Adapter
CN1 1 Tray for Use with WFA3130 N1 DIC Prism or C4X Lens DIC Polarizer Turret Adapter
CN2 1 Tray for Use with WFA3131 N2 DIC Prism Tray for WFA3131 N2 DIC Prism
WFA3120 1 Visible DIC Polarizer Visible DIC Polarizer
WFA3121 1 IR DIC Polarizer IR DIC Polarizer
WFA3130 1 DIC Condenser Prism for N1 Objectives DIC Prism
WFA3131 1 DIC Condenser Prism for N2 Objectives DIC Prism
WFA3110 1 Visible and IR DIC Analyzer Visible and IR DIC Analyzer
Illumination Kits
WFA1051 1 Visible and NIR Illumination Kit Visible and NIR Illumination Kit
LEDD1B 2 T-Cube™ LED Driver T-Cube LED Driver
KPS201 2 15 V Power Supply Unit for a Single K-Cube™ or T-Cube™ Power Supply
  • This microscope kit does not include a DIC objective prism, because it is objective-specific. Please see the Microscope Add-Ons tab to choose the appropriate objective prism for your needs.

Application-Optimized Cerna Microscopes

Developed in collaboration with our colleagues in the field, the Cerna microscopy platform is uniquely modular and flexible, making it adaptable to a wide range of demanding experimental requirements. If you would like to work with our application specialists, engineers, and sales team to design your own microscopes, please email

Selected Accessories

In order to image with this microscope, it is necessary to add scientific cameras, an epi-illumination source, and filter sets, objectives, and sample holders. Moreover, it is often possible to improve the quality of your experimental data by carefully selecting accessories that complement your specific experiment. To that end, we have ensured that Cerna® microscopes are compatible with a wide range of accessories. The information below compares the Cerna-compatible components that are manufactured or sold by Thorlabs. We have also indicated when it is possible to use equipment designed by other manufacturers.


Camera Port
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The camera port provides a fixed magnification for light from the sample.

Scientific Cameras for Widefield Viewing

  • Visualize the Field of View at a Computer
  • Any C-Mount Camera is Compatible with a Cerna Microscope

Thorlabs offers scientific cameras optimized for a range of imaging needs. Cameras allow the field of view to be displayed on a computer screen and saved for later reference. Viewing your sample from a computer also enables remote sample positioning using our motion control accessories (see below), allowing samples to be moved in sensitive setups without introducing additional vibrations from your hands.

This Cerna microscope configuration includes a camera tube, which provides a fixed magnification at the image plane.

Any camera with C-Mount (1.000"-32) threading is compatible with this microscope. We recommend the CS2100M-USB Quantalux® Scientific sCMOS Camera; see the table below for more details. For other options, please see our complete range of scientific cameras.

CS2100M-USB Specifications
Product Photo
(Click to Enlarge)
Sensor Type Monochrome sCMOS
Effective Number of Pixels
(Horizontal x Vertical)
1920 x 1080
Imaging Area
(Horizontal x Vertical)
9.6768 mm x 5.4432 mm
Pixel Size 5.04 µm x 5.04 µm
Optical Format 2/3" (11 mm Diagonal)
Max Frame Rate 50 fps (Full Sensor)
Sensor Shutter Type Rolling
Peak Quantum Efficiency 61% at 600 nm
PC Interface USB 3.0
Housing Dimensions 2.77" x 2.38" x 1.88"
(70.4 mm x 60.3 mm x 47.6 mm)

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Secure a Liquid Light Guide to the Six-Position Epi-Illuminator Module with a D3T Dovetail-to-LLG Adapter

Illumination Sources for Epi-Illumination

  • White Light Sources Illuminate the Field of View Through the Objective
  • Available Options Include Solis® LEDs, Chrolis™ LED Sources, or Other Sources Coupled through Ø3 mm Liquid Light Guide
  • Light is Tuned by Filter Sets for Specific Fluorophores (See Below)

The six-position epi-illuminator module that is included with this Cerna microscope kit requires a broadband white light source that emits across the visible region of the spectrum. Broadband emission makes it possible for the same microscope to stimulate fluorophores that have absorption wavelengths that are spectrally separated. Several filter sets aimed at common fluorophores are available below.

The Solis LED light sources have multiple wavelength emitting options, including broad sprectrum emission throughout the visible range. These LEDs are designed to be controlled by the DC20 or DC2200 drivers. The Solis LED is outfitted with collimating optics and can be mounted directly to the back of the epi-illuminator module using the SM2A56 dovetail adapter.

The Chrolis LED sources are user-configurable light engines that efficiently combine the output of six LEDs into a single liquid light guide (LLG). They are ideal for fluorescence imaging that requires up to six wavelengths of light. These sources are available in two pre-set configurations, as well as custom configurations; please see the full web presentation for more details. The Chrolis sources are compatible with the epi-illuminator module via our LLG3A6 adapter, which connects and collimates any Ø3 mm LLG to a female D3T dovetail; see image to the upper right.

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SOLIS® LED Features

  • Broadband LEDs Generate Intense Illumination Across the Visible Spectrum
  • Maximum LED Output Powers from 3.1 to 7.1 W
  • Intensity Control by Simple DC20 or Advanced DC2200 LED Driver
  • Lifetime: >10,000 Hours
  • Integrated Collimating Optics
  • Requires SM2A56 Dovetail Adapter (Sold Separately)
  • Link to Full Web Presentation

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Chrolis™ LED Source Features

  • Combine 6 User-Changeable, High-Power LEDs into One Liquid Light Guide
  • Eleven Wavelength Options Cover All Known Fluorophores Between 365 nm and 780 nm (Click info for Details)
  • Control LEDs Using Included Software with GUI
  • Typical Lifetime of LED Modules is ≥10,000 Hours
  • Requires LLG3A6 Dovetail Adapter (Sold Separately)
  • Link to Full Web Presentation

Filter Transmission Spectraa
Item # Target Fluorophore Transmission Graph
(Click for Plot)
MDF-BFP BFP (Blue Fluorescent Protein)
MDF-GFP2 Alexa Fluor® 488
MDF-MCHAb mCherry
MDF-MCHCb mCherry
MDF-TOM tdTomato
  • Please see the full web presentation for a complete listing of fluorescence filter sets offered.
  • While both filter sets target mCherry, the -MCHC excitation filter features a broader transmission band than the excitation filter in the -MCHC filter set.

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Thorlabs' MDF-GFP2 Filter Set

Filter Sets for Epi-Fluorescence

  • Tune Epi-Illumination Source for the Excitation and Detection of Specific Fluorophores
  • Up to Six Filter Sets can be Installed Simultaneously
  • Thorlabs' Fluorescent Filter Sets Available
  • Utilize Fluorescence Filters from Other Major Manufacturers

The epi-illumination module included with this microscope contains a turret that can hold up to six filter sets. The turret can be rotated by hand to switch between the filter sets. To learn more about the features of the CSE2100 Epi-Illuminator Module included with this microscope, please see its full web presentation.

The filter sets we offer, which consist of an excitation filter, an emission filter, and a dichroic mirror, come in the industry-standard sizes. For excitation and emission filters, the standard dimensions are Ø25 mm, and for dichroic mirrors, the standard dimensions are 25 mm x 36 mm. This allows Cerna microscopes to be compatible with filters from all major manufacturers.

Several popular filter sets are listed with their target fluorophores in the table to the right. Please see the full web presentation for the entire line of Thorlabs' filter sets.

DIC Optics
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DIC Optics Included with Microscope Kit
(DIC Objective Prisms are Not Included)


  • Microscope Accepts M25 x 0.75-Threaded Objectives (Nikon)
  • Matching DIC Objective Prisms (Sold Separately) are Required for DIC
  • DIC Polarizers, Condenser Prisms, and Analyzer are Included with Microscope Kit

The nosepiece in this microscope kit contains M25 x 0.75 threads in two places, allowing it to hold two objectives simultaneously. M25 x 0.75 threads are most commonly used by Nikon objectives. For convenience, we stock several widefield Nikon objectives that are commonly used with Cerna microscopes, shown in the table below on the left. Our in-stock selection is not exhaustive. If you would like to order a different objective, please contact us.

DIC Imaging Accessories
In order to perform DIC imaging, the Nikon objective that you pick must be paired with its compatible DIC objective prism. The table below on the right gives the item number of the DIC objective prism you should order. All other necessary optics for DIC (polarizers, condenser prisms, and analyzer) are included with the microscope kit.

DIC Objective
Prism Item #
Compatible Objectives
WFA3140 Nikon Plan Fluorite, 10X
WFA3141a Nikon, 16X
WFA3142 Nikon Plan Fluorite, 20X
WFA3143a Nikon, 25X
WFA3144 Nikon APO NIR, 40X, Water Immersion
WFA3145 Nikon Plan Fluorite, 40X
WFA3146 Nikon APO NIR, 60X, Water Immersion
  • These prisms will not fit into the CSN1202 Dual-Objective Nosepiece.
Objective Item # N4X-PF N10X-PF N20X-PF N40X-PF N60X-PF
(Click to Enlarge)
Magnification 4X 10X 20X 40X 60X
Numerical Aperture (NA) 0.13 0.3 0.50 0.75 0.85
Working Distance (WD) 17.2 mm 16 mm 2.1 mm 0.66 mm 0.31 - 0.4 mm
Threading M25 x 0.75

Slide Holder in a Custom System
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Slide Holder in a Cerna® Microscope
XY Stage on Fixed Arm
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MLS203-1 Stage with MLS203P2 Slide Holder on CSA1000 Fixed Arm
Rigid Stand with Petri Dish Holder
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MP15M Rigid Stand with
MLS203P2 Slide/Petri Dish Holder

Sample Holders

  • Rigid Stands Hold Samples Underneath and Around the Objective
    • Designed for Slides, Petri Dishes, Well Plates, Recording Chambers, Micromanipulators, and Custom Inserts
    • Translation Stages with 1" of X and Y Travel Available
  • Fixed Arms Incorporate Fast XY Stage, Lens Tubes, and/or Cage Systems Directly into Optical Path
    • CSA1000: For Our MLS203-1 Fast XY Scanning Stage
    • CSA1001: For Ø1" Lens Tubes and 30 mm Cage Systems
    • CSA1002: For Ø2" Lens Tubes and 60 mm Cage Systems

Thorlabs offers highly configurable solutions for mounting your sample beneath the objective of the Cerna microscope. Rigid stands are available with multiple platform styles that can accept slides, petri dishes, well plates, recording chambers, micromanipulators, and custom inserts. The included collar makes them lockable at a height and angle chosen by the user. We also manufacture translation stages for these rigid stands that provide motorized horizontal translation of the sample.

Our fixed arms attach directly to the dovetail that spans the height of the microscope body, allowing them to be positioned anywhere along the body height, putting the sample directly into the microscope's optical path, and taking advantage of the existing footprint of the scope. For a pre-configured sample holder solution, use the CSA1000 Fixed Arm with the MLS203-1 Fast XY Scanning Stage. This stage is compatible with our MZS500-E Piezo-Driven Insert, which adds high-resolution Z-axis adjustments. Alternatively, the CSA1001 and CSA1002 Fixed Arms are compatible with Thorlabs' extensive selection of optomechanical components, allowing custom sample holder configurations to be integrated into this microscope.

Several compatible options are outlined in the tables below. For our full range of rigid stand inserts and heights, please see their full web presentation.

Rigid Stands

Rigid Stand
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MP15M(/M) Rigid Stand with Rectangular Insert Holder

Rigid Stand
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MPRC(/M) Recording Chamber Holder, MPP15 Post, and
LPH150 Post Holder

  • Insert Designed for Recording Chambers
  • Height Range: 203.6 - 314.9 mm
  • Other Heights Available
Rigid Stand
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MP15(/M) Rigid Stand with Platform

  • 24 1/4"-20 (M6 x 1.0) Tapped Holes for Holding Micromanipulators or Other Equipment
  • Height Range: 203.6 - 314.9 mm
  • Other Heights Available

Fixed Arms

Fixed Arm
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CSA1000 Fixed Arm

Fixed Arm
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CSA1001 Fixed Arm

Fixed Arm
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CSA1002 Fixed Arm

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Click on the different parts of the microscope to explore their functions.

Explore the Cerna MicroscopeSample Viewing/RecordingSample MountingIllumination SourcesIllumination SourcesObjectives and MountingEpi-IlluminationEpi-IlluminationTrans-IlluminationMicroscope BodyMicroscope BodyMicroscope BodyMicroscope Body

Elements of a Microscope

This overview was developed to provide a general understanding of a Cerna® microscope. Click on the different portions of the microscope graphic to the right or use the links below to learn how a Cerna microscope visualizes a sample.



Arm: Holds components in the optical path of the microscope.

Bayonet Mount: A form of mechanical attachment with tabs on the male end that fit into L-shaped slots on the female end.

Bellows: A tube with accordion-shaped rubber sides for a flexible, light-tight extension between the microscope body and the objective.

Breadboard: A flat structure with regularly spaced tapped holes for DIY construction.

Dovetail: A form of mechanical attachment for many microscopy components. A linear dovetail allows flexible positioning along one dimension before being locked down, while a circular dovetail secures the component in one position. See the Microscope Dovetails tab or here for details.

Epi-Illumination: Illumination on the same side of the sample as the viewing apparatus. Epi-fluorescence, reflected light, and confocal microscopy are some examples of imaging modalities that utilize epi-illumination.

Filter Cube: A cube that holds filters and other optical elements at the correct orientations for microscopy. For example, filter cubes are essential for fluorescence microscopy and reflected light microscopy.

Köhler Illumination: A method of illumination that utilizes various optical elements to defocus and flatten the intensity of light across the field of view in the sample plane. A condenser and light collimator are necessary for this technique.

Nosepiece: A type of arm used to hold the microscope objective in the optical path of the microscope.

Optical Path: The path light follows through the microscope.

Rail Height: The height of the support rail of the microscope body.

Throat Depth: The distance from the vertical portion of the optical path to the edge of the support rail of the microscope body. The size of the throat depth, along with the working height, determine the working space available for microscopy.

Trans-Illumination: Illumination on the opposite side of the sample as the viewing apparatus. Brightfield, differential interference contrast (DIC), Dodt gradient contrast, and darkfield microscopy are some examples of imaging modalities that utilize trans-illumination.

Working Height: The height of the support rail of the microscope body plus the height of the base. The size of the working height, along with the throat depth, determine the working space available for microscopy.


microscope bodyClick to Enlarge
Cerna Microscope Body
Body Height Comparison
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Body Details

Microscope Body

The microscope body provides the foundation of any Cerna microscope. The support rail utilizes 95 mm rails machined to a high angular tolerance to ensure an aligned optical path and perpendicularity with the optical table. The support rail height chosen (350 - 600 mm) determines the vertical range available for experiments and microscopy components. The 7.74" throat depth, or distance from the optical path to the support rail, provides a large working space for experiments. Components attach to the body by way of either a linear dovetail on the support rail, or a circular dovetail on the epi-illumination arm (on certain models). Please see the Microscope Dovetails tab or here for further details.


microscope bodyClick to Enlarge
Illumination with a Cerna microscope can come from above (yellow) or below (orange). Illumination sources (green) attach to either.


Using the Cerna microscope body, a sample can be illuminated in two directions: from above (epi-illumination, see yellow components to the right) or from below (trans-illumination, see orange components to the right).

Epi-illumination illuminates on the same side of the sample as the viewing apparatus; therefore, the light from the illumination source (green) and the light from the sample plane share a portion of the optical path. It is used in fluorescence, confocal, and reflected light microscopy. Epi-illumination modules, which direct and condition light along the optical path, are attached to the epi-illumination arm of the microscope body via a circular D1N dovetail (see the Microscope Dovetails tab or here for details). Multiple epi-illumination modules are available, as well as breadboard tops, which have regularly spaced tapped holes for custom designs.

Trans-illumination illuminates from the opposite side of the sample as the viewing apparatus. Example imaging modalities include brightfield, differential interference contrast (DIC), Dodt gradient contrast, oblique, and darkfield microscopy. Trans-illumination modules, which condition light (on certain models) and direct it along the optical path, are attached to the support rail of the microscope body via a linear dovetail (see Microscope Dovetails tab or here). Please note that certain imaging modalities will require additional optics to alter the properties of the beam; these optics may be easily incorporated in the optical path via lens tubes and cage systems. In addition, Thorlabs offers condensers, which reshape input collimated light to help create optimal Köhler illumination. These attach to a mounting arm, which holds the condenser at the throat depth, or the distance from the optical path to the support rail. The arm attaches to a focusing module, used for aligning the condenser with respect to the sample and trans-illumination module.


microscope bodyClick to Enlarge
Light from the sample plane is collected through an objective (blue) and viewed using trinocs or other optical ports (pink).

Sample Viewing/Recording

Once illuminated, examining a sample with a microscope requires both focusing on the sample plane (see blue components to the right) and visualizing the resulting image (see pink components).

A microscope objective collects and magnifies light from the sample plane for imaging. On the Cerna microscope, the objective is threaded onto a nosepiece, which holds the objective at the throat depth, or the distance from the optical path to the support rail of the microscope body. This nosepiece is secured to a motorized focusing module, used for focusing the objective as well as for moving it out of the way for sample handling. To ensure a light-tight path from the objective, the microscope body comes with a bellows (not pictured).

Various modules are available for sample viewing and data collection. Trinoculars have three points of vision to view the sample directly as well as with a camera. Double camera ports redirect or split the optical path among two viewing channels. Camera tubes increase or decrease the image magnification. For data collection, Thorlabs offers both cameras and photomultiplier tubes (PMTs), the latter being necessary to detect fluorescence signals for confocal microscopy. Breadboard tops provide functionality for custom-designed data collection setups. Modules are attached to the microscope body via a circular dovetail (see the Microscope Dovetails tab or here for details).


microscope bodyClick to Enlarge
The rigid stand (purple) pictured is one of various sample mounting options available.

Sample/Experiment Mounting

Various sample and equipment mounting options are available to take advantage of the large working space of this microscope system. Large samples and ancillary equipment can be mounted via mounting platforms, which fit around the microscope body and utilize a breadboard design with regularly spaced tapped through holes. Small samples can be mounted on rigid stands (for example, see the purple component to the right), which have holders for different methods of sample preparation and data collection, such as slides, well plates, and petri dishes. For more traditional sample mounting, slides can also be mounted directly onto the microscope body via a manual XY stage. The rigid stands can translate by way of motorized stages (sold separately), while the mounting platforms contain built-in mechanics for motorized or manual translation. Rigid stands can also be mounted on top of the mounting platforms for independent and synchronized movement of multiple instruments, if you are interested in performing experiments simultaneously during microscopy.



For sample viewing, Thorlabs offers trinoculars, double camera ports, and camera tubes. Light from the sample plane can be collected via cameras, photomultiplier tubes (PMTs), or custom setups using breadboard tops. Click here for additional information about viewing samples with a Cerna microscope.

Product Families & Web Presentations
Sample Viewing Breadboards
& Body Attachments
Cameras PMTs



Microscope objectives are held in the optical path of the microscope via a nosepiece. Click here for additional information about viewing a sample with a Cerna microscope.



Large and small experiment mounting options are available to take advantage of the large working space of this microscope. Click here for additional information about mounting a sample for microscopy.



Thorlabs offers various light sources for epi- and trans-illumination. Please see the full web presentation of each to determine its functionality within the Cerna microscopy platform.



Epi-illumination illuminates the sample on the same side as the viewing apparatus. Example imaging modalities include fluorescence, confocal, and reflected light microscopy. Click here for additional information on epi-illumination with Cerna.

Product Families & Web Presentations
Epi-Illumination Web Presentation Body Attachments Light Sources
Epi-Illumination Body Attachments Light Sources



Trans-illumination illuminates from the opposite side of the sample as the viewing apparatus. Example imaging modalities include brightfield, differential interference contrast (DIC), Dodt gradient contrast, oblique, and darkfield microscopy. Click here for additional information on trans-illumination with Cerna.

Product Families & Web Presentations
Brightfield Web Presentation DIC Web Presentation Dodt Web Presentation Condensers Web Presentation Condenser Mounting Web Presentation Illumination Kits Web Presentation Other Light Sources
Brightfield DIC Dodt Condensers Condenser Mounting Illumination Kits Other Light Sources



The microscope body provides the foundation of any Cerna microscope. The 7.74" throat depth provides a large working space for experiments. Click here for additional information about the Cerna microscope body.

Product Families & Web Presentations
Microscope Body Web Presentation Microscope Body Translator
Microscope Bodies Microscope Translator

Customizable Cerna Microscope Configuration: Kit 6

This microscope configuration can be tailored to your particular imaging needs through the use of our kit functionality. Its components can be added all at once to the shopping cart using the "Add Kit" button at the bottom of the ordering area, or individually using the shopping cart icon next to each item. Items may be removed from the default item list by changing the value in the "Qty" box to 0 before clicking the "Add Kit" button. Once added, peruse our catalog of modular microscope components to further customize the microscope kit in your cart. A discount is offered when a sufficient number of components are purchased. Please see the Kit Components tab for additional information about each component in this microscope kit.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
CSC2001 Support Documentation
CSC2001LWD Condenser, 0.78 NA, Male D3N Dovetail, 400 - 850 nm, One C32 Tray Included
Lead Time
CSE2100 Support Documentation
CSE2100Epi-Illuminator Module with Turret for Six Filter Sets, Conditioning Optics, Additional Optical Port, WD = 50 mm
ZFM2020 Support Documentation
ZFM2020Motorized Module with 1" Travel for Edge-Mounted Arms
ZFM2030 Support Documentation
ZFM2030Motorized Module with 1" Travel for Middle-Mounted Arms
CEA1400 Support Documentation
CEA1400Cerna Microscope Body with Epi-Illumination Arm, 400 mm Rail
LAURE1 Support Documentation
LAURE1Cerna Trinoculars with 10X Eyepieces, Upright Image, IR Filter
TC1X Support Documentation
TC1X1X Camera Tube for LAURE1 & LAURE2 Trinoculars, C-Mount, Male D2N Dovetail
CSD1001 Support Documentation
CSD1001Variable Magnification Double Camera Port
Lead Time
CSN1202 Support Documentation
CSN1202Nosepiece for 2 Objectives, M25 x 0.75 Threads
Lead Time
CSA1200 Support Documentation
CSA1200Mounting Arm for CSN1201 and CSN1202 Nosepieces
BSA2000 Support Documentation
BSA2000Condenser Arm, ±2.5 mm Travel per Adjuster, Female D3N Dovetail
MCM3001 Support Documentation
MCM3001Three-Channel Controller and Knob Box for 1" Cerna Travel Stages
WFA1000 Support Documentation
WFA1000Transmitted Light Illumination / DIC Imaging Module, 30 mm Cage Compatible
WFA0150 Support Documentation
WFA015095 mm Dovetail Clamp for WFA1000 and WFA1100 Modules
WFA3100 Support Documentation
WFA3100Polarizer Turret
WFA3000 Support Documentation
WFA3000DIC Polarizer Turret Mounting Adapter
WFA3120 Support Documentation
WFA3120Visible DIC Polarizer
WFA3121 Support Documentation
WFA3121IR DIC Polarizer
WFA3130 Support Documentation
WFA3130DIC Condenser Prism for N1 Objectives
WFA3131 Support Documentation
WFA3131DIC Condenser Prism for N2 Objectives
CN1 Support Documentation
CN1Tray for Use with WFA3130 N1 DIC Prism or C4X Lens
CN2 Support Documentation
CN2Tray for Use with WFA3131 N2 DIC Prism
WFA3110 Support Documentation
WFA3110Visible and IR DIC Analyzer
WFA1051 Support Documentation
WFA1051Warm White and IR Illumination Kit
LEDD1B Support Documentation
LEDD1BT-Cube LED Driver, 1200 mA Max Drive Current (Power Supply Not Included)
KPS201 Support Documentation
KPS20115 V, 2.66 A Power Supply Unit with 3.5 mm Jack Connector for One K- or T-Cube