Fast volumetric imaging.

Scan volumes, not planes.

Bliq Photonics’ patented Axicon technology turns 2D scans into 3D volumetric imaging. The Axicon module is a powerful optical tool that easily allows the direct and rapid visualization of events happening at different focal planes. The Axicon also provides compensation for tissue movement causing imaging artifacts.

See more, faster. Both in vivo and ex vivo.

Coupled with the acquisition speed and sensitive detection of Bliq Photonics’ VMS microscope, the number of volumes scanned per second by the Axicon are multiplied (see Table A in the Applications tab). For example, the Axicon module installed on Bliq Photonics’ VMS can scan 35 volumes of 480x240x100 µm per second (20x) without loss of resolution!

The increased depth of field offered by Bliq Photonics’ Axicon (red) provides more information compared to standard laser-scanning microscopy (LSM, green). Courtesy of Dr Daniel C. Côté, CERVO Research Center, Université Laval.


The acquisition of 3D volumes instead of 2D planes is made possible by the Axicon’s Bessel beam generation, which drastically increases the depth of field.

Bliq Photonics’ Axicon increases the depth of field up to 100 µm.


Ideal for imaging rapid events happening at distinctive focal planes. Applications include :

  • Calcium imaging
  • Cell migration and cell tracking
  • Cell signaling

In moving or unstable tissue, sample movements often cause imaging artifacts both within and between frames. The fast acquisition speed of Bliq’s VMS microscope, together with the volumetric imaging capabilities of the Axicon, can easily compensate for X, Y and Z displacements. Bliq’s VMS and Axicon can therefore significantly improve image quality in scenarios where motion artifacts are caused by :

  • Breathing
  • Blood pressure/flow
  • Peristalsis
  • Muscle movements
  • Tissue drifting over time
  • And more

Table A – Examples of frame and volume scanning times for different scanners using Bliq Photonics’ Axicon.

Scanning method Galvanometer Resonant scanner Bliq’s polygonal scanner
_ _ _ _
Objective magnification 20X 20X 20X
Field of view (µm) 480 x 240 480 x 240 480 x 240
Image size (pixels) 1024 x 512 1024 x 512 1024 x 512
Acquisition speed (frame/sec) 4 30 35
_ _ _ _
Traditional Z-stack scanning time for a volume of 400 x 200 x 100 µm (XYZ), 0.5 µm steps (sec) 50 6.67 6.67
_ _ _ _
Volumetric scanning time of a volume of 480 x 240 x 100 µm (XYZ) with Bliq Photonics’ AXICON (sec) 0.25 0.033 0.033

Specifications – AXICON

Component Description Specifications
 _  _  _
Light sources Wavelengths Visible Axicon module : 400-1300nm
IR Axicon module: 600-1300nm (compatible with femto-second pulsed laser)
 _  _
Depth of field Enhancement 15-100 µm
 _  _  _
Inside the VMS Frame rate  35 volumes of 480 x 240 x 100 µm per second at 1 024 x 512
 562 volumes of 480 x 15 x 100 µm per second at 1 024 x 32
Bypass Software-controlled or one-push button
 _  _  _
As an upgrade Compatibility Laser-scanning confocal and multiphoton systems
Upgrade of commercial and custom-made systems
Frame rate Scanning speed unaffected (same as without Axicon)
Converts XY scanning into XYZ volume scanning
Field of view Field of view unaffected (same as without Axicon)
Bypass Manual or automatic

Axicon technology

Extended two-photon microscopy in live samples with Bessel beams: steadier focus, faster volume scans, and simpler stereoscopic imaging. Thériault G, Cottet M, Castonguay A, McCarthy N, De Koninck Y. (2014) Frontiers Cell Neurosci. Vol 8, No 139. (PubMed).

Extended depth of field microscopy for rapid volumetric two-photon imaging. (2013) Thériault G, De Koninck Y, McCarthy N. Opt Express. Vol 21, No 8. (PubMed).