Miniature Microscopy solutions

Miniature fluorescence microscopy uses a small footprint, lightweight, head-mounted microscope to record the calcium activity of fluorophore-labeled cells and map their spatial positions within a neuronal network in behaving lab animals. It can be combined with optogenetics to control opsin-marked cells as well.

  • Advantages
    • Record individual cell activity in a specific population of neuronal or glial cells using genetically-encoded sensors
    • Map the spatial position of a group of cells
    • Correlate functional and morphological cellular activity with animal behavior
    • Monitor the same population of cells over months
    • Modulate activity in a specific population by combining imaging with optogenetic manipulations using genetically encoded opsins
    • Compare the activity of two populations or take advantage of combinatory genetic labeling approaches when using two-color Ô¨āuorescence microscopes
    • Combine microscope imaging with other modalities such as fluid injection, or¬†optogenetics using specialized implants.
    • Ability to record depths of up to 8 mm for the 1-color microscope and 6 mm for the 2-color microscope.
    • Possibility of performing simultaneous optogenetics stimulation.
  • Limitations
    • Heavier than photometry recording systems as the miniaturized microscope is attached to the animal during recording
    • Limited sampling depth, due to light scattering and absorption (1-photon epifluorescence imaging)
    • Invasive chronic implant


Doric offers complete turn-key solutions that include all the necessary components for fluorescence imaging in freely behaving animals, from the implant to the software interface.

For deep brain single marker imaging, opt for the Twist-on efocus Microscopy systems available for green or red fluorescence imaging, and benefit of:

  • An intuitive and robust connection between the microscope body and the imaging cannula using the new twist-on mechanism (no pressure on the skull during connection, no tools required)
  • A precise electronic focus adjustment that allows to track the same cells over time and improves Ô¨āuorescence signal and spatial resolution
  • The imaging cannula auto-alignment: the GRIN relay lens is always perfectly aligned with the microscope
  • A GRIN lens implant for each application: 1 mm of diameter GRIN lenses for a larger Ô¨Āeld of view when imaging superÔ¨Ācial brain regions (cortex, hippocampus), or less invasive 0.5 mm of diameter GRIN lenses to image deeper structures (hypothalamus), prism tip option for lateral imaging and lower invasiveness
  • An optogenetic stimulation option that provides up to 55 mW/mm2 of yellow light (pulsed or continuous) at the tip of the implant
  • Enhanced durability with connectorized cables and a lightweight machined aluminum microscope body

To record simultaneously the activity of two populations labeled with two spectrally distinct fluorophores, the 2-color Fluorescence Microscopy systems should be considered. Doric’s 2-color microscopes are highly miniaturized and integrate two independent image sensors optimized for GCaMP and Red fluorescence imaging.

If you are more interested in the superficial layers of the brain consider surface models of single-color or 2-color microscopes. Without the need for rod implantation (e.g. GRIN lenses) surface microscopy is less invasive than deep-brain microscopes and has a larger field of view. Surface microscopes can also be combined with a glass prism to image brain structures up to 1.5 mm deep and can be compatible with optogenetics.

Comparison Table for Doric Lenses Miniature Microscopy systems
System Type Deep brain
Deep brain
Electronic focus Yes No No No
Optogenetic option Yes Yes No No
Fluid injection option Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rotary joint option Yes Yes Yes Yes


External References

Huang et al. Ventromedial prefrontal neurons represent self-states shaped by vicarious fear in male mice.
Nature Communications 14, (2023)

Brain region: Ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC)
Shin et al. Early adversity promotes binge-like eating habits by remodeling a leptin-responsive lateral hypothalamus‚Äďbrainstem pathway.
Nature Neuroscience 26, (2023).

Brain region: Lateral Hypothalamus (LH)
A. Chenani et al., Repeated stress exposure leads to structural synaptic instability prior to disorganization of hippocampal coding and impairments in learning
Transnational Psychiatry, (2022)
Brain region: Hippocampus (CA1)
S. Malvaut et al. Live imaging of adult neural stem cells in freely behaving mice using mini-endoscopes
Star Protocols, (2021).
Brain region: Subventricular Zone (SVZ) / Lateral Ventricle (LV)
B.T. Laing et al. Fluorescence microendoscopy for in vivo deep-brain imaging of neuronal circuits.
Journal of Neuroscience Methods, (2021).
J.N. Siemian. An excitatory lateral hypothalamic circuit orchestrating pain behaviors in mice.
eLife (2021)

Brain region: Lateral Hypothalamus (LH)
A. Gengatharan et al. Adult neural stem cell activation in mice is regulated by the day/night cycle and intracellular calcium dynamics.
Cell 184, 709‚Äď722 (2021).
Brain region: Subventricular Zone (SVZ) / Lateral Ventricle (LV)
F. Fredes et al. Ventro-dorsal Hippocampal Pathway Gates Novelty-Induced Contextual Memory Formation.
Current Biology 31, 25‚Äď38.e5 (2021)
Brain region: Ventral hilus; dorsal dentate gyrus
D. Rossier et al. A neural circuit for competing approach and defense underlying prey capture.
PNAS (2021)
Brain region: Lateral Hypothalamus (LHA)
A. Glas et al. Spaced training enhances memory and prefrontal ensemble stability in mice.
Current Biology (2021)

Brain region: dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC)
P. Krzywkowski et al. Dynamic encoding of social threat and spatial context in the hypothalamus.
eLife 9, e57148 (2020)
Brain region: Hypothalamus (VMHvl)
C. Solié et al. Superior Colliculus to VTA pathway controls orienting response and influences social interaction in mice.
Nature Communications (2022)
Brain region: Superior Colliculus (SC)
A. Glas et al. Benchmarking miniaturized microscopy against two-photon calcium imaging using single-cell orientation tuning in mouse       visual cortex
Plos One (2019)
Brain region: visual cortex (V1)
J.M. Patel et al. Sensory perception drives food avoidance through excitatory basal forebrain circuits.
eLife 8, e44548 (2019)
Brain region: basal forebrain (BF)
Fu et al. SatB2-Expressing Neurons in the Parabrachial Nucleus Encode Sweet Taste
Cell reports 27 , 1650-1656 (2019)
Brain region: parabrachial nucleus (PBN)
B. Roberts et al. Ensemble encoding of action speed by striatal fast-spiking interneurons
Brain structure and function (2019)
Brain region: dorsal striatum (DS)
S. Shin et al. Drd3 Signalling in the Lateral Septum Mediates Early Life Stress-Induced Social Dysfunction
Neuron 97, 195‚Äď208 (2018)
Brain region: lateral septum (LS)
E. Gallo et al. Accumbens dopamine D2 receptors increase motivation by decreasing inhibitory transmission to the ventral pallidum.
Nature Communication 9, 1086 (2018)
Brain region: nucleus accumbens (NAc)
D.A. Evans et al. A synaptic threshold mechanism for computing escape decisions
Nature 558 , 590‚Äď594 (2018)
Brain region: dorsal periaqueductal gray (dPAG); medial superior colliculus(mSC)
T.C. Francis et al., Molecular basis of dendritic atrophy and activity in stress susceptibility.
Molecular psychiatry 22, 1512‚Äď1519(2017)
Brain region: nucleus accumbens (NAc)