Dr. Peter March, Senior Experimental Officer
University of Manchester, Bioimaging Facility
The research being performed at the University of Manchester has a real-world impact beyond the lab. The team is at the forefront of the search for solutions to some of the most pressing issues in biology, medicine and health. The Bioimaging Facility delivers a broad range of state-of-the-art imaging solutions to the University, Faculty of Biology, and Medicine and Health. A key technology used in biological imaging of live cells is Spinning Disk Confocal Microscopy. Spinning Disk allows for long-term, high-speed, three-dimensional imaging of live samples with multiple channels of illumination.
One of the primary reasons for using Spinning Disk Microscopy is to generate confocal images without photobleaching or damaging live samples. “Bright cells are not necessarily healthy cells,” warns Peter March, senior experimental officer at the university. “Using less GFP in cells matches their natural behavior more closely,” he adds.
Correspondingly, sensitivity is among the most important features of a camera. Until recently, and due to their ability to achieve >90% quantum efficiency, EMCCD cameras were the preferred imaging device for Spinning Disk Microscopy. March and his team typically use a 60x objective, resulting in the need to address the large pixels of an EMCCD, which require extensive optical adjustments to reach acceptable sampling levels. This severely limits field of view, making samples harder to find and capture. Additionally, EMCCD cameras cause excessive, visible noise across the sample, even at high exposures.
The Prime 95B [Scientific CMOS camera] is the perfect camera for Spinning Disk – the image quality is a big improvement over our EMCCDs, and the field of view makes samples much easier to find.