Airyscan solves this conundrum between resolution and light efficiency by imaging the complete airy disk onto a concentrically arranged hexagonal detector array. It consists of 32 single detector elements, all of which act like sub airy unit pinholes. The confocal pinhole itself remains open and doesn’t block light – thus all photons of the whole airy disk are collected.
The signals from all detector elements are then reassigned to their correct position, producing an image with increased signal-to-noise ratio and resolution. Unlike other superresolution techniques, Airyscan capitalizes on the scanning and optical sectioning capabilities of a confocal. Thus Airyscan even works with thicker samples such as tissue sections or whole animal mounts that need a higher penetration depth.