Advanced Microscopy Driving Growth of Live Cell Imaging Market

According to SDi’s recent publication, The 2019 Market for Live Cell Imaging, the total market for live cell imaging instruments, assays, and labeling reagents is projected to reach $1.9 billion in five years with a CAGR of 7.3%. Among the factors driving this high growth is the increasing adoption of advanced microscopy techniques for live cell imaging, namely multi-photon microscopy and light sheet microscopy.

Multi-photon microscopy, also called two-photon excitation microscopy, makes use of nonlinear optics to provide finely localized, three-dimensional imaging. Instead of using optics to control the light returning to the detector, multi-photon optics ensure that the stimulated part of the sample is restricted to a small point, which reduces the risk of photobleaching effects.

Light sheet microscopy, also called single plane illumination microscopy, illuminates only a thin plane of just a few micrometers at a time using a laser. As the sample is moved through the light sheet, three-dimensional images are generated. Since only a thin slice of the sample is exposed at a time, light sheet microscopy is a relatively gentle technique for live cell imaging, and can be used to image cells in living animals.

Live cell imagingBoth techniques have seen substantial growth over the past five years. Multi-photon and light sheet microscopes have become increasingly used in labs worldwide conducting research on cellular processes and dynamics. These instruments are ideally suited for imaging sensitive living cells due to their reduced phototoxicity effects. The majority of these instruments have been purchased and used by university research and government-sponsored labs.

Over the next five years, strong growth rates of these advanced microscopy techniques are expected to continue. Additionally, increased adoption of these instruments from the pharma/bio industry for drug development research can be anticipated. More vendors continue to innovate their advanced microscopy pipeline of instruments. Multi-photon microscopy is the more mature market, while the market for light sheet instruments is more emerging. As these technologies continue to evolve, their value will grow to labs conducting live cell imaging.

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