Etaluma introduces the LumaScope; a dramatically new concept in simple, inexpensive, and accessible fluorescence microscopy.

Endothelial cells

Raw, uncropped image from the LumaScope collected at 8 frames/sec with a 40X objective. Cells are endothelial cells with AlexaFluor 488 phallacidin-labeled F-actin.

The LumaScope is a low priced, small USB inverted fluorescence microscope. It was conceived and designed by working scientists who realized that a large proportion of the everyday uses of fluorescence microscopy is to check the presence, health, and signal from labeled cells. Traditional inverted scopes are expensive, complicated, and loaded with features that are not required for these tasks. The LumaScope focuses on: portability, small size, ease of use, continuous availability, and low price. Perfect when you can do without the cost and complexity of a typical, full-sized fluorescence microscope.

The LumaScope provides fluorescence and brightfield capability in an inexpensive inverted microscope. Easy routine inspection of cells in slides, plates, and flasks with its high-quality imaging and fast frame-rate. The LumaScope fits on your desk, inside Faraday cages, tissue culture hoods, or incubators (with remote image monitoring and basic control capability). With just the power from the USB port of a laptop required, you have a portable fluorescence microscopy workstation.

The LumaScope was designed by taking advantage of the developments in CMOS sensor technology and LED illumination. Coupled to state-of-the-art lenses and Semrock filters, we have created a microscopy platform that reveals new economy while maintaining publishing-quality images in brightfield, phase contrast, and multi-color fluorescence.

We think we have dramatically simplified inverted microscopy and still offer the essential features. The LumaScope was designed to handle routine cell inspection tasks, providing brightfield, phase contrast, and fluorescence capability, while being attractively priced.

Scientist with LumaScope LumaScope provides the three most important accessibility traits: It is significantly less expensive than other scopes, it is much easier to use, and its size and portability make it available anytime, anywhere. All without sacrificing the image quality you demand.


  • Cell presence and distribution
  • Cell confluence
  • General cell health
  • Fluorescent protein expression
  • Label brightness
LumaScope in incubator

Small enough to fit inside an incubator for remote cell monitoring

More sophisticated uses are also easily achieved with the LumaScope: cell counting or hemocytometry and growth monitoring. Using the LumaScope, it is possible to monitor cells remotely through the web from within a tissue culture incubator, overnight, away from the lab.


  • Yields a magnification on familiar laptop displays of approximately 20× with a field of view of 1 mm square.
  • Brightfield capability included
  • USB interface, enabling easy integration with larger systems and remote monitoring
  • Small enough to fit on a desk, lab bench, or in an incubator or tissue culture hood (approximately 190 × 125 × 115 mm).

Application Highlights:

  • Long-term incubator imaging and Time Lapse
  • Cell doubling and movement measurements
  • Stem Cell differentiation movies
View Images


  • LumaScope flyer - PDF (0.65MB)
  • LumaScope Poster - PDF (1.3MB)

    LumaScope: an Inexpensive, Compact, Sturdy USB-Based Inverted Fluorescence Microscope.

  • LumaScope vs. Zeiss - PDF (1.6MB)

    LumaScope vs. Zeiss comparison of bovine pulmonary artery endothelial (BPAE) cells with AlexaFluor 488 phalloidin labeled F-actin (FluoCell Slide #1 F14780; Molecular Probes).

  • LumaScope Presentation - PDF (8.5MB)

    Brian Rasnow's Presentation on the LumaScope to the American Association of Physics Teachers July 2010. Included are examples of teaching applications for physics, biophysics, and multidisciplinary science courses

  • LumaScope JALA Manuscript - PDF (1MB)

    Download our Author Manuscript published in JALA on the development of the LumaScope.Kahle J, Levin R, Niles W, Rasnow B, Schehlein M, and Shumate C. (2010) An inexpensive simple-to-use inverted fluorescence microscope: a new tool for cellular analysis. JALA (Oct 15(5):355-361) DOI:10.1016/j.jala.2010.06.008