The 3D Cell Explorer Discovery

The most affordable tomographic microscope in the world


The 3D Cell Explorer Discovery

Observe your cells as they are: unmodified, alive and in 3D. The 3D Cell Explorer Discovery is an affordable, non-invasive tomographic 3D microscope able to provide stunning images with nanometric resolution in just seconds. Visualize cells through the density of their internal structures (Refractive Index) revealed by the power of tomography.

A Plug & Play System that packs the entire Nanolive experience into this accessible model.

A light version of the software STEVE is included, an intuitive and comprehensive tool to explore your cell data.


  • Are you a teacher and you would like to bring your cell biology lesson to a next level?
  • Are you an academic researcher interested in non-invasive cell tomography?


With the 3D Cell Explorer Discovery you can…

Explore single cells and cell culture stain-free & instantly

Measure volumes and distances and monitor their reaction to stimuli without worrying about bleaching or phototoxicity.

Observe different types of cells

Discover different types of cells with incredible resolution and in 3D. Characterize their internal compartments based on their physical properties (i.e. morphology and refractive index).

Follow the action of life

Observe and analyze cell behaviour and cell-cell interaction without interfering with their natural physiology.

Melanoma cell


Perform label-free non-invasive accurate and quantitative 3D morphological monitoring of living single cells and cell cultures at every second.

Melanoma cell front and side view.


Perform label-free, real-time imaging of 3D cell cultures, without stains, in 2 seconds.


HUVEC (Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells) incubated with Gold Nanoparticles.



Nanolive’s proprietary digital stain allows the discrimination of different cell types in a co-culture based on their specific refractive index (RI) signature.

Mouse melanoma cells (B16) incubated with dictyostelium amoebae cells. The ΔRI 0.015 between the two cell types allows for segmentation of each cell populations. On the right panel three amoeba cells were zoomed to appreciate the resolution of the system (x,y= 180 nm; z= 400nm) and the lateral view.


Unveil the secrets of host pathogen interactions, phagocytosis, microorganism internalization & intracellular 3D localization at every second!


Dictyostelium amoeba cells phagocytosis of bacteria (E. coli). Four slices of the Z-stack tomography [Z resolution: 330nm]. Bacteria in the digestive vacuoles inside the amoeba cells are detectable.



Perform marker-free analysis of tissues & cell samples saving precious time and reducing sample manipulations.

Mouse skin sections. The left panel shows a classical mouse skin slice stained with hematoxin & eosin. On the right panel the same kind of sample (5um thick slice) was fi xed with PFA and imaged with the 3D Cell Explorer Discovery. 

The 3D Cell Explorer Discovery Highlights

Close Up Biologist_CX

3D tomographic cell visualization

The 3D Cell Explorer-Discovery delivers a full 3D cell reconstruction at every second. This allows you to record stunning 3D images of entire cells and tissue slices in just seconds and with nanometric resolution.

Quantitative Refractive Index data

The 3D Cell Explorer-Discovery detects changes to light as it propagates through the cell and measures the quantitative refractive index within the cell identifying each organelle.

No preparation, no staining

Our disruptive technology allows, for the first time, to explore instantly a living cell in 3D without any labeling or chemical markers. No fixation + No labeling = No alteration of cell’s normal physiology & No results falsification!

Segment your data through digital stain

Explore your data in 3D using our interactive digital stains based on the cell’s physical refractive index.


The 3D Cell Explorer is a tool for discovery and we are just at the beginning of exploring all the potential fields of application!

Technical Features 3D Cell Explorer Discovery 

Resolution   Δx,y = 200nm;
Δz = 400nm
 Field of view  ~80μm
 Depth of field  ~30μm
 Tomography frame rate  0.5 fps 3D image rate with full self-adjustement
 Objective Air with 60x magnification
 Illumination Source Class 1 laser low power (λ=520 nm, sample exposure 0.2 mW/mm2)
Accessible sample stage 60 mm of free access to the sample stage for sample manipulation

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