Spinning Disk
Confocal MicroscopyFluorescence Microscopy

Spinning Disk Confocal Microscopy

Confocal microscopy addresses two significant challenges in biological imaging that conventional fluorescence microscopy cannot overcome. Firstly, biological specimens are 3-dimensional structures so to fully understand them we often need to construct 3-dimensional images. Secondly, many processes biologists would want to study occur inside biological structures, but other cell features can block a clear view.

Confocal microscopy uses optical sectioning to take multiple, thin, 2-dimensional slices of a sample to construct a 3-dimensional model from them. This is made possible through the addition of a pinhole into the same focal plane as the sample to block out-of-focus light. Spinning disk confocal microscopy increases the speed of this technique by using multiple pinholes etched into an opaque disk which, when spun, scans the pinholes across the entire image.

Spinning disk confocal microscopy is, essentially, a light rejection technique so one of the main challenges is to collect as many of the emitted photons as possible so light intensity can be reduced to lessen the impact of photobleaching and photodamage on samples, which means that high camera sensitivity is of critical importance.

Prime 95B

Extremely sensitive, 95% quantum efficient sCMOS camera with 11 µm pixels and EMCCD level detection.

Go beyond EMCCD for spinning disk confocal microscopy with the back-illuminated Prime 95B, which features an equivalent level of detection but with a faster speed, larger field of view and no EM-gain aging or excess noise.

The Prime 95B allows exposure times to be lowered significantly to increase acquisition speed and reduce photobleaching and photodamage to the lowest levels possible on an sCMOS camera.

The results of a comparison between the Prime 95B and EMCCD for spinning disk confocal microscopy can be seen below.

AlexaFlour488-Phalloidin labelled actin cytoskeletal structure was imaged using spinning disk confocal microscopy.

The signal-to-noise improvement of the Prime 95B can be clearly seen. The Prime 95B image looks cleaner, details are sharper and structural elements are identified that can’t be seen with the EMCCD camera.

Prime BSI photo

Prime BSI

High sensitivity, 95% quantum efficient, sCMOS camera with 6.5 µm pixels and 1.0 e read noise.

The high quantum efficiency and low read noise combined with the balanced 6.5 µm pixel size offers high sensitivity imaging whilst achieving Nyquist sampling with the most popular objective magnifications used for spinning disk confocal microscopy.

The Prime BSI offers an alternative to the Prime 95B when resolution is more important than extreme sensitivity.

Spinning Disk samples
Kinetix photo


High sensitivity, 95% quantum efficient sCMOS camera with an incredibly high 400 fps full-frame speed and a massive 29.4 mm diagonal field of view.

The speed of the Kinetix significantly outperforms typical sCMOS devices. With a full-frame framerate of 400 fps and a 10 megapixel sensor, the Kinetix delivers over 4000 megapixels/second.

The high quantum efficiency and low read noise combined with the balanced 6.5 µm pixel size also delivers the sensitivity needed to get the highest image quality from a spinning disk system without sacrificing resolution.

Spinning Disk samples

Customer Stories

Spinning Disk Confocal

Naoki Mochizuki National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center

“The quality and speed of the Evolve 512 EMCCD camera has enabled us to capture zebrafish embryo developments under challenging conditions.”

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High-Throughput Spinning Disk Confocal

Dr. Tom Lummen ETH Zurich

“This light-sheet system was built with the Kinetix in mind, we wanted to use the larger field of view, higher QE and faster framerates, compared with other cameras.”

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Confocal Microscopy & STORM

Dr. Uri Manor Salk Institute

“The Prime 95B [Scientific CMOS camera] provides the speed, field of view and resolution of a CMOS camera, with the added sensitivity of an EMCCD camera for our more demanding experiments.”

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