Diesel user group

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This page is the home for the users of Diesel (Dual Independent Enhanced Scan Engines for Large field-of-view) multiphoton imaging systems

What is DieselHub?

DieselHub will be an important, impactful project for the neuroscience community, accelerating research and supporting diverse researchers.

Large field-of-view multiphoton imaging and optogenetic activation systems enable a broad array of state-of-the-art neuroscience research. However, it is expensive, both in cost and human capital. These systems cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and to make the most of them requires high level expertise. Thus, it is not as simple as going across the hall and borrowing one. These cost and expertise barriers disproportionately affect new labs as they cannot take the financial risk to purchase a system without pilot data, and/or expertise. Thus, rapid technological advancements in systems neuroscience can remain out-of-reach of diverse and creative scientists nationwide.

DieselHub will overcome these barriers with two models. First, at UCSB the team will host a centralized hub, similar to an observatory model used in astronomy (or the OpenScope project at the Allen Institute for Brain Science). The instrumentation and technical personnel will be hosted at UCSB, eliminating the barriers of both cost and expertise. Second, the team will create and support traveling instrumentation. DieselHub will set up state-of-the-art Diesel2p rigs at user institutes. The team will train personnel and provide support. This model is important for some animal species and/or experiments that entail long training regimens.

Both models will be used to benefit the needs of diverse researchers nationwide. The neuroscience community desperately needs community accessible, large field-of-view multiphoton systems for imaging and optogenetic manipulation, and DieselHub can address this need. The impact of this project will likely be felt across many subfields of systems neuroscience, and greatly benefit neuroscience researchers across career stages.

Diesel2p is the most powerful and flexible large field-of-view imaging system to date. It has the largest field-of-view (25 mm^2) for accessing multiple brain regions simultaneously, dual independent scan engines for flexible imaging and optogenetic stimulation, and a long working (8 mm) distance air objective for easy implementation with a range of animals and behavior systems.

We expect this important project to have a large positive impact on neuroscience research.

What is Diesel2p?

Diesel2p (Dual Independent Enhanced Scan Engines for Large field-of-view Two-Photon imaging) is a multiphoton imaging system designed by the Smith lab. With approximately a dozen systems currently in operation or ordered, this custom and fully open-sourced system allows for large field-of view-imaging with two independent scan engines.

Diesel2p objective and stage
Diesel2p system layout

Overview of specifications


-Dual independent scanning engines

-Large field of view: ~5 x 5 mm2, encompassing distances up to 7 mm

-Scan angles up to ±5 degrees at the objective back aperture

-Excitation windows of 910 ± 10 nm and 1050 nm ± 10 nm

Other Diesel Systems

In addition to Diesel2p, a 4-channel version is in operation at the Chen lab and a three-photon version is operated by the Kara lab.


Quadroscope: a 4-channel variant of Diesel2p

-Dual independent scanning engines

-Large field of view: ~5 x 5 mm2

-4-channel microscope (2 per scan engine)

-Diffraction-limited performance optimized across an excitation wavelength range of 920–1040 nm


Diesel3p: a three-photon Diesel variant

-Dual independent scanning engines

-Large field of view: ~5 x 5 mm2

-Allow simultaneous 2p + 3p imaging, achromatic at 920nm and 1300 nm

-8-mm long working distance, 360 degree rotatable, 0.54NA, air objective


Diesel2p mesoscope with dual independent scan engines for flexible capture of dynamics in distributed neural circuitry


Yu, Che-Hang ; Stirman, Jeffrey N. ; Yu, Yiyi ; Hira, Riichiro ; Smith, Spencer L. ( November 2021 , Nature Communications)

Flexible simultaneous mesoscale two-photon imaging of neural activity at high speeds


Clough, Mitchell ; Chen, Ichun Anderson ; Park , Seong-Wook ; Ahrens , Allison M. ; Stirman, Jeffrey N.; Smith, Spencer L. ; Chen, Jerry L. ( November 2021 , Nature Communications)

Lens prescriptions

Full Diesel2p lens prescription available here

BRAIN Initiative Alliance Toolmakers Resources Web Page