Intracellular ion flux is of major concern to biologists. Bio-researchers often wish to quantify both absolute concentrations and spatial variations of ion concentrations within cell and tissue samples. For instance, cytosolic and organellar free calcium concentrations show dramatic spatial and temporal fluctuations associated with intracellular messaging; therefore, the ability to monitor intracellular Ca2+ flux has wide-ranging utility in the life sciences. Today, a significant number of in vitro and in vivo investigations involve the monitoring of calcium.
Fluorescent dyes have been designed to have specificity for particular ions and exhibit predictable changes in absorption or emission profiles due to changes in ionic concentration. Such changes in absorption or emission profile are measured to reveal behavior of ion regulation in cells. These dynamic events may unfold very rapidly, or longer-term trends may be of interest. Photometrics offers a broad selection of both slow-scan CCD and rapid-imaging EMCCD cameras for ion-imaging studies.
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