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The latest optical products for life sciences in 2022

Photonics technology is widely used in life science applications. It can be applied to many stages of medical and biological research, to detailed biological examination, drug development and medical robotics, and it uses light to detect and measure diseases in a fast, sensitive and accurate way. 

Photonics are used for very early detection of diseases, with non-invasive imaging techniques or point-of-care applications, and it can also be vital to the analysis of processes at the molecular level, which provides researchers and medical professionals with a better understanding of the origin of diseases, allowing for the development of prevention methods and new treatments. 

A particularly topical example was in the wake of the pandemic, when photonics technologies were employed for diagnostics via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. But photonics technologies are also increasingly used for minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, while imaging technologies are being used for minimally invasive surgeries. 

The technology and techniques in life sciences are developing and advancing all the time, and this is a major trend shaping the market, according to’s latest Biophotonics Global Market Report. The report predicts that the global biophotonics market is expected to grow from $45.67bn in 2021 to $63.04bn in 2025. 

Photonics products for life sciences on the market now

Vendors of products in the life science market include Access Laser, which provides lasers for novel surgical procedures, or tracking and viewing the progress of pharmaceutical development. The lasers’ wavelength enables hemostatic incisions to improve healing times and can be centred from 9.3µm to 9.6µm to match the peak absorption coefficient of hydroxyapatite, the main mineral constituent in enamel, dentin and bone.

Analytik has an array of life science solutions for a variety of microbiology and molecular diagnostics applications. The portfolio ranges from devices for PCR, real-time PCR, bioimaging, liquid handling, electrophoresis and sample homogenisation to consumables. 

Brighterwave provides visible lasers and laser projection solutions for life science applications. It focuses on custom visible laser light solutions and multi-wavelength boxes laser projection and beam steering solutions for automotive, life science and AR/VR applications. 

Cobolt offers a series of laser assemblies specifically tailored for advanced optogenetics research. Solutions include single-line lasers with stable and efficient coupling into multimode fibres, two lasers on a common platform launched into one common fibre coupler, or two lasers sitting side by side launched into one fibre coupler each, suitable for 2-into-1 coupling using, for example, fused fibres. 

Coherent, formerly known as II-VI, segments the life sciences instrumentation market into three categories based on core functional use – biotechnology, medical and scientific. When it comes to biotechnology, the company offers life sciences optics, laser engines, all-purpose optics, laser diode modules, DPSS lasers, thermoelectric coolers and thermoelectric systems. For medical, there are HPL bars and stacks, CO2 laser optics, 1 micron optics, DPSS lasers, thermoelectric coolers and thermoelectric systems. For scientific, the company offers CO2 laser optics, micron optics, life science optics, DPSS lasers, thermoelectric and thermoelectric systems. 

CoolLED designs and manufactures cutting-edge LED illumination systems for researchers and clinicians. The company has specialised in fluorescence microscopy since it introduced its commercially available LED illumination system in 2006. LED microscope lighting is popular thanks to its stability, long life and energy efficiency, as well as its superior safety and environmental features.

Edmund Optics’ optical components are used in many life science-related applications and medical devices, such as qPCR instruments, fluorescence microscopes (confocal, multiphoton, super-resolution), flow cytometers (cell sorting), ophthalmoscopes, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and more. The company offers all the optical components needed for building medical devices, including high-precision filters, lenses, mirrors, beamsplitters, polarisers, microscope objectives, and more. In addition, the company’s portfolio has a range of light sources and cameras to complete the set-up, whether it is for a microscope, an OCT system, or a different type of optical medical device. 

Hamamatsu researches how biological phenomena interacts with light to create the tools required. The company can use biological materials to create models – for example, it has made environmental sensors that use the photosynthesis system of algae, and created photosensitive nerve cells that use the photoactive euglena enzyme to understand the mechanisms of neurological disease. The research could lead to applications in drug discovery and advanced medical fields. 

Jenoptik produces high-tech objective lenses for medical technology. These highly specialised and customised optics products open up new possibilities in prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Its medical technology objective lenses can be used in ophthalmology, dental technology or dermatology, for example, for focusing laser beams or achieving targeted deflection. Fluorescence objective lenses enable DNA to be read during sequencing, and objective lenses and modules can also be used successfully in radiology. 

Available from Laser Components is a range of solutions to aid the understanding of cellular and molecular processes that provide doctors and medical engineers with valuable insights for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, using the advantages of laser technology. Applications include microscopy, spectroscopy, photodynamic therapy, thermal laser applications, positioning of patients, UV sterilisation, breath gas analysis, components manufacturing, optical coherence tomography and high-power laser research. 

Leica Microsystems offers microscope solutions to support complex microsurgery applications. The microscopes provide optimal and reliable visualisation, including built in fluorescence filters and GLOW 800 augmented reality fluorescence. This and ICG create a simultaneous white-light and real-time fluorescent blood flow view. 

Lumencor’s solid-state technologies have provided ground-breaking improvements in the quality of simple LED illumination available to both researchers and instrument manufacturers in the life sciences. This has enabled expansion in the capabilities of fluorescence microscopy in terms of sample throughput and spatial resolution, and driven the development of many new applications. 

Microlight3D is a specialist manufacturer of high-resolution micro-scale 2D- and 3D-printing systems for industrial and scientific applications. Its most recent launch was a collection of resins with diverse properties for mechanical meta-materials and life sciences applications. They are designed to allow developers to explore 3D microprinting using different materials and reproduce miniscule objects. The resins join the existing two in the range and can be used with the company’s microFAB-3D ultra-high resolution 3D-printing system, based on two-photon polymerisation. This direct laser writing technology is used to create a solid 3D-printed structure from photo-activable materials. 

Products from MKS Instruments’ life and health sciences range are used in a diverse array of applications, including bioimaging, medical instrument sterilisation, medical device manufacturing, analytical, diagnostic and surgical instrumentation, consumable medical supply manufacturing and pharmaceutical production. PicoQuant’s products are used in a wide range of applications, such as life science, materials science and optical quantum technology. Academic researchers use them in their search for answers and help in gathering data for publications in top-ranking journals, and by researchers in industry for their day-to-day laboratory work and in carrying out routine quality control of global industrial players. 

Photon Lines’ life sciences partners are leaders in their respective fields, including Abberior Instruments, founded by Professor Stefan Hell, one of the inventors of the stimulated emission depletion (STED) super resolution nanoscopy technique. Products span from super resolution microscopes, including the Abberior Instruments add-on Stedycon and Expert Line STED system, to the Argolight fluorescence quality testing system, which is becoming an essential tool in light microscopy facilities. 

Omek Optics focuses on OEM digital microscopy solutions for the inspection, medical and biomedical industries. It offers a line of standard modular microscopes covering a broad spectral range, with special attention to homogeneous high yield illuminations. Solid State is an electronics group supplying commercial, industrial and military markets with components, assemblies and manufactured units for use in specialist and harsh environments, including industrial, robotics, medical, life sciences and transportation sectors. The company has expertise in industrial and ruggedised computing, displays, battery power solutions, communications, imaging technologies, electrical and electronic components. 

Solid State has five principal trading companies: Solid State Supplies, Steatite, Pacer Components, Active Silicon and Willow Technologies. Willow Technologies also has a US-based subsidiary, American Electronic Components (AEC), in Indiana. For more than 45 years, Sutter Instrument has led in the manufacture of precision instrumentation for the neurological sciences. The company has the latest in patch clamp and intracellular amplifiers and software and continues to expand our line of manipulators, light sources, multi-photon microscopes and micropipette pullers. The latest products include the Trio MPC-165 thinprofile manipulator, Lambda 821 optical beam combiner capable of accessing seven LEDs, and Dendrite, a data acquisition system that gives researchers access to the advantages of SutterPatch software. 

Vortran Laser Technology’s products serve the high-end laser market, supplying both OEM companies and end users. The company’s primary focus is in the life sciences market, where its laser technologies serve applications in cell biology, optogenetics, microscopy and imaging, flow cytometry, DNA sequencing, optical tweezers, spectroscopy, pharmaceutical drug discovery, and well plate reading, to name a few. 

This is not an exhaustive list. If you provide products in the life science space and would like your company to be included, please let us know at:



Coherent: Featured life science product

Coherent is a system-level partner 

Coherent, formerly II-VI Incorporated, is a leading global manufacturer of materials, optics, lasers and thermoelectrics – vertically integrating from the component level to subassemblies and subsystems. With a focus on application-specific solutions targeting biotechnology, medical and scientific instrumentation platforms, Coherent is a system-level partner from illumination, light and sample management, to detection. 

Subassemblies and subsystems can offer instrumentation manufacturers some key advantages over internal assembly. Vertically integrated manufacturing can support cost reduction efforts and reduced time to market. Coherent’s dedicated and collaborative NPI teams work with customers on design for manufacturability efforts to target both performance and cost improvements. Overall quality and reliability is performed at a higher level and can deliver custom drop-in solutions, thereby easing and facilitating downstream integration efforts. 

From initial design and pilot production, subassembly and subsystem level projects are transferred and scaled to volume manufacturing in medical-grade clean rooms at globally located ISO13485 factories. Find out more about subassemblies and subsystems at the Coherent website.


Solid State Supplies: Featured life science product

Generating and detecting light for life science applications 

Excelitas single-photon counting modules (SPCMs) meet the low-light-level detection demands of confocal microscopy, fluorescence, luminescence, time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) and particle sizing. SPCMs offer market-leading photon detection efficiency (PDE), low after-pulsing, highest uniformity over the 180µm diameter active area, high linear dynamic range, low dark counts, stabilised performance and optimal signal-to-noise ratio. 

A dark count as low as <25 counts/second, combined with a large active area, makes for easy optical alignment and very short dead times of <25ns. A key strength is the peak photon detection efficiency of up to 80 per cent at 700nm. The range includes SPCM-NIR, performance-optimised for the NIR spectrum, and SPCM-AQRH, optimised for timing resolution measurements, particularly TCSPC applications. 

The Excelitas 2W µPAX-3 is a compact, precision-aligned, integrated, pulsed Xenon light source providing broadband light in microsecond pulses with exceptional arc stability. µPAX-3 is the ideal choice for clinical and in-vitro diagnostics, life sciences and analytical instrumentation. Find out more about the Excelitas 2W µPAX-3 by visiting the Solid State Supplies website.


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Product focus, Life sciences