Bloomsbury Consortium for Advanced Light Microscopy


Super-resolution Imaging


Due to COVID-19 social distancing, access to the super-resolution facility is restricted and a code of conduct for safety must be followed. New users must fill in the access form, after which a member of facility staff will be in touch to discuss the project and to provide information about facility access and training in the current circumstances.

Super-resolution imaging of cells and tissues allows the study of molecular machineries with tens of nanometers resolution, including in live preparations. These past years, recent advances such as the development of off-the-shelve imaging systems, new photo-switchable fluorophores, and single-molecule localisation algorithms, has made super-resolution imaging accessible to the wider life sciences research community.  UCL Faculty of Life Sciences opened the Super Resolution Facility (SURF) in 2013 with the help of generous funding from the MRC.  It is part of the Bloomsbury Consortium of Light and Electron Microscopy (BCLEM) and is housed on the main UCL campus where it brings UCL’s large and vibrant community of biomedical researchers.

SURF incorporates state-of-the art Super Resolution modalities including Structure-illumination Microscopy (SIM), PALM, STORM and 3D-STED.  This facility serves as a continuously evolving research and development hub where UCL scientists can interact to produce world-leading discovery-based biomedical research as well as education and training.

Together SURF and the UCL multiscale Imaging Centre in partnership with Zeiss (UZMIC), provide UCL scientists with a pipeline to study living systems across biological scales, from molecular machineries to tissues and organs. 

SURF Microscopes:

  • Nikon STORM
  • LEICA 3d-STED (2 depletion lasers)
  • Lattice sheet microscope (3i)

SURF Facility Manager – Andrew Vaughan, andrew.vaughan@ucl.ac.uk

Super-resolution techniques vary greatly in their applicability to different specimens and experiments. Sample preparation is critically important and varies according to the super-resolution technique being used; and live imaging is especially challenging. For this reason we require new users to submit a project request by filling in the form below. This will allow us to assess which techniques are most suitable to the project, what sample preparation steps to use, how much training or one-to-one help will be needed and what the usage and data storage requirements will be.

Access form

Location: MRC LMCB