Fluorescence and ElectrophysiologyCustomer Stories

Dr. Christian Simon, Mr. Florian Gerstner

Carl-Ludwig-Institute for Physiology, Leipzig University, Germany


Dr. Christian Simon and PhD student Mr. Florian Gerstner are involved in neuroscience research, in particular investigating spinal cord sections and motor neuron functionality in mouse models.

Dr. Simon described his work, “For the spinal cord, if you break it into small sections, you cut off all the dendritic trees and this doesn’t really work, we are using a new technique where you divide the spinal cord into very thick sections, where you can visually target the surface motor neurons and still have the circuitry intact.”

Mr. Gerstner told us more, “We are doing a lot of electrophysiology on these thick samples, primarily patch clamp recordings, but we are also doing fluorescence and DIC microscopy to target certain cells and check their viability. We are using GFP and Atto dyes towards red.”

Figure 1: Various DIC and fluorescence images taken using the Moment CMOS. Top left shows a DIC image of electrophysiology, with patch-clamp micro-pipettes approaching a Purkinje cell for stimulation. Top right shows proprioceptive synapses labelled with GFP. Bottom left and right show a neuromuscular junction and some motor neurons respectively, both labelled with tdtomato.


For thicker samples a high sensitivity camera is vital due to the scattering that occurs for both DIC and fluorescence, as well as high sensitivity across a range of wavelengths, considering the use of traditional visible GFP and another dye further towards infrared that better suits thick samples.

Dr. Simon had a previous camera that lacked sensitivity, “With our old camera the sensitivity wasn’t sufficient, especially in these thicker tissues and in DIC. We are targeting cells beneath the surface, so we need good image quality, we have to image the layer beneath to get more intact cells.”

Mr. Gerstner outlined more challenges, “We are using two types of objective, a 10x to locate the area we want to see, then for patching we use a 60x in order to target individual cells. Our previous camera imaged at around 30 fps which was low for us, we need more speed in order to get the patch pipette to the desired cell.”

Overall, this application requires high and broad sensitivity, as well as high speed and a pixel size suited to high-resolution imaging at a range of different magnifications.

The Moment is an easy-to-use plug and play camera that produces quality images with a good time resolution. We didn’t have any problems.


The Moment CMOS is a high-speed, easy-to-use camera with high sensitivity in both the visible and near-infrared regions. With a small 4.5 µm pixel, the Moment is well suited to both low-magnification localization and high-magnification sub-cellular imaging.

Mr. Gerstner described his experience with the Moment, “It’s easy to use, since with Micro-Manager its plug and play with the single cable, it’s a neat way to do things. It’s been a comfortable camera to use, that produces quality images with a good time resolution. It works perfectly with great resolution at both of our magnifications. We didn’t have any problems.”

Dr. Simon told us more, “[The Moment] improved our approach since we can do everything within one software. With our previous camera fluorescence was horrible, but now even with thick samples we are all very happy.”

Neuromuscular Junction Vesicle ImagingCustomer Stories

Prof. Jan Pielage

Department of Biology, RPTU University of Kaiserslautern-Landau, Kaiserslautern, Germany


Professor Jan Pielage’s research focuses on identifying molecular mechanisms controlling synapse formation, function, and stability. Prof. Pielage told us more, “We use Drosophila models to identify novel genes that are required to maintain the stability or function of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), the connection between nerve and muscle. We have identified a number of genes, and these are conserved and can lead to disabilities in mouse or human models.”

“We want to look at neurodegeneration across a whole Drosophila NMJ and see how the signal pattern changes, to learn more about potential compensatory mechanisms and disease progression.”

Figure 1: A video of vesicle fusion events across an entire Drosophila larvae NMJ at muscles six and seven, acquired using the Kinetix22. The video shows two motor neurons innervating the NMJ, with the flashes being post-synaptic glutamate receptor responses triggered by spontaneous vesicle fusion events.


Prof. Pielage described some of the challenges this application involves, “We want to monitor potential defects in synaptic transmission at the resolution of single active zones in the NMJ, for this, we require extreme sensitivity as the signal is very low.”

“We also need high-speed imaging to identify these events in real-time, this is in the range of 10-100 Hz, but we also want to image voltage-sensitive dyes, and for this, we would need to go up to 1000 Hz. So, we need to really push the potential of the camera.”

“We also want to image the entire NMJ, it is critical to understand which release sites are active. Previously we relied on electrophysiology and could detect release events, but didn’t know where they occur. For this, we need optical methods.”

This application needs a combination of high speed and high sensitivity across a large field of view, in order to observe all the events across an entire Drosophila NMJ at sub-cellular resolution.

The Moment is an easy-to-use plug and play camera that produces quality images with a good time resolution. We didn’t have any problems.


The Kinetix22 is the ideal solution for this application, and Prof. Pielage explained his experience with the Kinetix22, “This system was designed for the Kinetix22, the improvement in temporal resolution and sensitivity is critical. We were previously just at the detection limit but now it looks nice, we were surprised that we can see our signal. We can also look at the kinetics of these events, this is really a great tool and we compared it to competitors, the Kinetix really was the best for our application, it’s the perfect camera.”

“These experiments weren’t possible beforehand, now we can see miniature release events within the NMJ, something that we cannot achieve using electrophysiology. These optical recordings dramatically improve the dimensions of our research, and if we then correlated directly with electrophysiology and immunochemistry, we can really gain novel insights into these processes.”

“It works well in MicroManager, and the setup was very easy, it works from the get-go.”

Sub-Cellular Neuronal Calcium ImagingCustomer Stories

Lukas Jarzembowski, Prof. Barbara A. Niemeyer

Centre for Integrative Physiology & Molecular Medicine (CIPMM), Saarland University, Homburg, Germany


The lab of Prof. Barbara A. Niemeyer at CIPMM is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of calcium (Ca2+) signals in physiology and disease. The lab uses Zeiss microscopy systems, where Zen software is critical for the multi-user environment.

We spoke with a PhD student from the lab, Lukas Jarzembowski, “My research focuses mostly on the mechanisms of how calcium enters the cell, specifically how this is dysregulated in neurons and in the pre synapse for neural transmission. I am studying this at a single synapse level with primary hippocampal neurons using imaging and optical physiology tools.”

“One calcium entry route is through ion channels which interact with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), I am using GCaMP fluorescent calcium sensors targeted to different cellular compartments to understand the role of this pathway in neural transmission.”

Figure 1: A video of primary hippocampal neurons expressing a pre-synaptic jGCaMP8f calcium indicator. Images show a whole neuronal network and the calcium activity after stimulation, where each dot is a single synapse. Video acquired with Kinetix22 in Sensitivity mode at 88 fps, 10 ms exposure time.
Figure 2: A Z-plot of activity over time, based on the samples in Figure 1. The graph shows a quiescent period in the beginning, followed by spikes of activity across the whole neuronal network, increasing in intensity.


Mr Jarzembowski further described the imaging challenges of this application, “We are using a low light dose with our live primary neural cells, so the signal from GCaMP is quite low. Also, the pre-synapse is already quite tiny, and in the ER the pre-synapse is even tinier, so it is a very small volume containing very little GCaMP. Responses from individual synapses are also unpredictable, so I need to be able to record very faint signals from as many synapses as possible.”

“Ideally, I want to image at around 40 fps across the full FOV, but in the future, I may want to perform voltage imaging, which requires a much faster acquisition speed. As for resolution, I am looking for calcium signals in sub-cellular compartments, we have a Prime 95B on our Zeiss system which works perfectly fine, but the pixels are a little too large for our magnification and we want higher resolution, so we need a smaller pixel size.”

“We also have a Photometrics Evolve EMCCD and while it was sensitive, the FOV was way too small and it doesn’t make sense for me to do any experiments there.”

To this end, this application requires a camera that can maximize the field of view of the Zeiss imaging system, while also having high sensitivity in order to capture this very faint signal across the field at a sufficiently high speed, with sub-cellular resolution. Futureproofing this system for high-speed voltage imaging is also desirable, requiring a camera that can operate at 1000 fps or 1 kHz.

The Moment is an easy-to-use plug and play camera that produces quality images with a good time resolution. We didn’t have any problems.


The Kinetix22 is an ideal solution for this application, featuring all the benefits of the Kinetix family of cameras while maximizing the FOV of the Zeiss microscope. Mr. Jarzembowski told us about his experience with the Kinetix22, “We tested the Kinetix22 on a wide range of different calcium sensors, such as GCaMP and glutamate signalling, all the way up to over 500 fps and it worked perfectly fine, all with a field of view that is very large, we can get the whole neuron on it which is what we need.”

“We are using Zen for our imaging; in our department we have lots of different users so the flexibility of Zen is critical. Hardware setup was simple with the Kinetix22 on our Zeiss system, we used a T-Mount adapter and this gives us the full frame of view, very useable and homogenous illumination with different light sources, no problem at all. Overall, the [Kinetix22] is working very well.”

Simultaneous Two-Colour TIRF smFRETCustomer Stories

Prof. Richard Börner, Mr. Anxiong Yang

Laserinstitut, Hochschule Mittweida University, Germany


The lab of Prof. Borner is involved with studying the dynamics of RNA molecules using a range of single-molecule imaging techniques, including single-molecule Forster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy.

Anxiong Yang from Prof Borner’s group has built a custom two-color smFRET imaging system in a TIRF microscope that uses stroboscopic alternating laser excitation (sALEX) to monitor thousands of RNA molecules in parallel, with time resolutions down to 1 ms.

Mr. Yang further explained his imaging work, “We immobilise molecules onto a coverslip with two dyes, Cy3/5, fluorescence-labelled molecules. Then we use a microfluidic system to adjust the buffer conditions (salt concentration, pH, metabolite concentration) within the sample chamber, and image these surfaces with our TIRF microscope to observe dynamic and optimise or automate the immobilisation process.”

Figure 1: RNA molecules immobilised with BSA in HW. imaged with two-colour (Cy3 and Cy5) smFRET on a TlRF microscope using the Prime BSI Express sCMOS with a beam splitter. Each set of double images was captured simultaneously by splitting the channels across the sensor.


Mr. Yang told us about the challenges of these experiments, “We want to capture a big area of our sample to get as much data as we can, because sample preparation is complex and very time-consuming. We want to get more information from our samples.”

“We split the fluorescence emission light in two channels, green and red, and want to image them using each half of the camera sensor. Also, we are using an alternating laser excitation (ALEX) box and we use the TTL output trigger signal of the Prime BSI Express sCMOS to digitally modulate our two laser sources.”

If splitting the sensor to simultaneously image two channels, a camera sensor will be halved in size, meaning a large FOV is paramount to maximize data capture even when reduced in size. Alongside this, this research requires advanced external hardware triggering capabilities in order to control two light sources with alternating excitation.

The Moment is an easy-to-use plug and play camera that produces quality images with a good time resolution. We didn’t have any problems.


The Prime BSI Express CMOS camera is an ideal solution for this application, with high sensitivity thanks to a combination of low-noise CMS mode and 95% quantum efficiency for signal collection. The Prime BSI Express acquires at high speed even in CMS mode. and has a sufficiently large sensor to work well with a splitter and capture two channels simultaneously with thousands of molecule events across each.

Mr. Yang described his experience with the Prime BSI Express, “Your camera sensor is big enough to capture a really big area from our sample, the background signal and noise levels are very low; we can also control the temperature using the fan, this is important for our experiments with fluorescent light detection.”

“We are using Micro-Manager open-source software to run the whole system. and it works great with your camera and our lasers. I can set everything up in the software. The camera triggers also work great with our lasers and system. We have also 3D printed a camera holder for the Prime BSI Express] to match the height of our detection beam pass. as we made the system with this camera in mind.”

Dual-Color Voltage ImagingCustomer Stories

Dr. Davide Raccuglia

Institute of Neurophysiology, Charité University Berlin, Germany


Dr. Davide Raccuglia and his team use the model organism Drosophila melanogaster (colloquially known as fruit fly) to study how the brain regulates sleep. Dr. Raccuglia told us more about his research, “What I’m particularly interested in is the functional neural architecture of sensory gates for sleep regulation. We investigate how neural networks interact to create a gate that suppresses sensory processing allowing us to fall and stay asleep. Of course, we also want to understand how sensory information can break such a gate in order to awaken and enable us to react.”

“A great advantage to using Drosophila is that we can target specific neural networks, down to the level of a couple of neurons. We express genetically encoded voltage indicators (GEVIs) in these networks to optically derive the membrane potential of these structures. Using voltage indicators of different colors, we can record simultaneously from different neural networks to study how these networks interact when the flies are tired or rested.”

Figure 1: Dual-color voltage imaging of the Drosophila brain, acquired using a Kinetix22 with a two-way splitter. On the left are the two individual wavelength channels, combined on the right. The green area shows ring neurons expressing the voltage indicator ArcLight, the red area shows the dorsal fan-shaped body expressing the voltage indicator Varnam. Images were acquired using Speed mode at 100 Hz, 40x. The white square on the combined image corresponds to the graph below, indicating the neural activity over time in this area.


Voltage imaging is a challenging technique due to the imaging speeds required, as Dr. Raccuglia mentioned, “For neural signaling that we consider slow, we record at 100 Hz. However, we also look into single neuron activity and want to resolve spikes during bursts, which requires recording speeds between 1-2 kHz. So, we need a camera that performs well at high-frequency rates, and is also very light sensitive.”

When imaging at high speeds the camera exposure time is limited, meaning that only very light-sensitive cameras can collect enough signal for each frame, making voltage imaging a combination of speed and sensitivity.

Dr. Raccuglia also images neural activity across different scales, “We measure, for example, the entirety of presynaptic terminals of a neural network, and this compound signal would be comparable to a network-specific local field potential. However, to determine the contribution of single cells we use GEVIs to perform multi-cellular optical electrophysiology.”

This requires a camera with a large field of view and small pixels, in order to be flexible enough to image across large samples and to focus on the single-cell level.

The Moment is an easy-to-use plug and play camera that produces quality images with a good time resolution. We didn’t have any problems.


The Kinetix22 sCMOS camera is a revolution in the field of voltage imaging, due to the combination of extreme imaging speeds, high sensitivity, and a large 22 mm field of view. Dr. Raccuglia explains his experience with the Kinetix22, “The Kinetix22 is exactly what I needed for imaging signaling at high-frequency rates. We mostly use the Kinetix22 in Speed Mode, but we can also achieve 100 Hz in Sensitivity mode which is very useful. We use different modes, either selecting more speed or more sensitivity which is advantageous when combining voltage imaging and optogenetics as they require different frame rates and light conditions. The Kinetix22 is a clear development and improvement on my previous EMCCD devices, especially for high framerate voltage imaging.”

“Another advantage of the Kinetix22 is the smaller pixel size, which improves the resolution, and allows me to increase signal strength by binning the pixel.”

“We found the hardware very simple to install, it’s basically plug and play. We’ve used the camera every day and have not encountered any hardware issues. I especially love how easy it is to crop the sensor in Micro-Manager, and the region can be placed anywhere.”

High-Speed OptogeneticsCustomer Stories

Dr. Issac Kauvar, John Kochalka

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Stanford University, CA, USA


Dr. Isaac Kauvar is a neuroscientist and engineer, developing tools in order to discover how cortex-spanning neuronal populations support the deployment of internal models during goal-directed behavior.

In order to track and analyze these large-scale activity patterns in the cortex, Dr. Kauvar and graduate student John Kochalka use conventional widefield imaging as well as advanced fluorescent imaging known as ‘cortical observation by synchronous multifocal optical sampling’ (COSMOS) in order to image widespread activity via a transparent window into a mouse brain.

Dr. Kauvar and the team found the need to build a new imaging system for COSMOS due to user demand.

Figure 1: Images of multiple pieces of neuronal tissue taken with the Kinetix sCMOS. The top image shows structural details and vasculature within the tissue, and the bottom image is a still from a video, imaging functional neural activity at high-speed using the COSMOS technique.


In order to measure activity across a dense neuronal sample, both a large field of view and high resolution is needed. Imaging across a tissue while trying to identify individual cells requires a large sensor size in order to image efficiently without excessive stitching/ population tiling, and a small pixel size in order to achieve sub-cellular resolution and pick out which cells are active at what time, across the tissue.

The neuronal activity also occurs on a very short timescale and requires fast detectors, whether using optogenetics or calcium/voltage imaging. This means that a suitable detector also needs to operate at a high speed while still retaining the large field of view.

In order to achieve these high speeds and still suitably detect signal, a highly sensitive detector is needed, especially in order to detect weak signals when imaging at high speeds and having a low exposure time.

The Moment is an easy-to-use plug and play camera that produces quality images with a good time resolution. We didn’t have any problems.


The Kinetix sCMOS camera is an ideal solution for both structural and functional neuroscience imaging, featuring a very large imaging area that can acquire high-resolution images at a very high speed. The extremely high speeds across a 10-megapixel sensor, combined with the near-perfect 95% quantum efficiency allow for very high speed and high sensitivity imaging, all with sub-cellular resolution at even low magnifications due to the small pixel size.

John Kochalka told us about his experience with the Kinetix, “Quantitatively we are enjoying the improvements in resolution, the field of view, and speed compared to other sCMOS cameras.”

“The Kinetix seems like it will give us a lot of options down the road, such as voltage imaging, and will let us push the temporal resolution on all the work we’re doing.”

Interferometry and Lithium MappingCustomer Stories

Dr. Matthew Gebbie

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA


Dr. Matthew Gebbie and team are an interfacial science and soft materials lab focusing on molecular interaction forces and self-assembly in soft materials. Dr. Gebbie told us more: “The key theme we are driving at is how ionic self-assembly influences electron transfer and ion transport. This turns out to be a key question, both for energy storage through batteries and capacitors, but also thinking about electrochemical reactivity such as splitting water to generate hydrogen or turning CO2 into CO. All of these areas involve ionic self-assembly at interfaces.”

“For our research, we use interferometry as well as surface-sensitive optical spectroscopy to try and understand what’s happening at interfaces. We are also aiming to use fluorescence microscopy approaches to measure lithium diffusion coefficients in ionic liquids, for next-generation electrolytes and batteries. We want to know how lithium ions move in these materials, even at very low concentrations.”

Figure 1: Image of Interference fringes, used to measure the separation distance between two mica surfaces. Different electrolytes can be confined between these surfaces to determine how ion size, concentration, and chemical properties influence electric double-layer formation. The distance resolution in that image is approaching the size of a water molecule.

Figure 2: A video of darkfield particle tracking, illustrative of the types of single particle tracking measurements in development to evaluate electric field-driven dynamics in ionic liquids.


Dr. Gebbie is using a range of different microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to interrogate surfaces and materials, mainly interferometry, optical spectroscopy and highly-sensitive fluorescence spectroscopy, similar to single-molecule imaging methods. Each of these techniques comes with its own challenges, as Dr. Gebbie explained.

“For both interferometry and optical spectroscopy, signal sensitivity is a challenge we have to think about. The more sensitive we can be, the higher framerates we can access. We are aiming for these short acquisition times in order to do high frame rate interferometry.”

“Frame size is also very important for interferometry; we need to be able to image across the full width of the sensor to utilize all our diffraction gratings and the fringe splitting they produce. The number of pixels between two adjacent fringes is very important, as with interferometry we are targeting resolutions down to 3 angstroms (Å), this is approaching the size of a water molecule.”

“With our fluorescence microscopy methods, we need high-performance detectors in order to be confident about the fluorescence shifts that we see. We want to map lithium mobility in ionic liquids, and the detector is vital to see how low a concentration of lithium we can detect. We want to put in the minimal amount of fluorophore and remain highly sensitive to optical shifts.”

The Moment is an easy-to-use plug and play camera that produces quality images with a good time resolution. We didn’t have any problems.


The Prime 95B sCMOS is the ultimate answer for sensitivity, combining a large 11 μm pixel with near-perfect 95% quantum efficiency at peak. Featuring a large sensor and the ability to image at high frame rates, the Prime 95B is an ideal solution for these microscopy and spectroscopy challenges.

Dr. Gebbie shared his experience with the Prime 95B, “We have two Prime 95Bs, one we are using in a surface forces system for interferometry, with plans to also do optical spectroscopy in situ. The other camera is used to track single fluorescent particles, looking at dynamics and electrolytes. The 95B has also played a big role in our studies to use fluorophores to study lithium diffusion. The resolution and sensitivity are clearly a big step up from what I was seeing previously, with the Prime 95B we can see on the order of a fraction of a mol percent, and I don’t think we would have been successful with cheaper, more conventional detectors. I’m pretty convinced we can measure more lithium diffusion coefficients in a few months than people have measured in the prior 15 years.”

“On the surface forces side the Prime 95B opens the door to trying laser-based optical spectroscopy such as Raman or IR in situ in these nanoconfined electrochemical interfaces. We could not pull this off with previous detectors, and from what we’ve seen the 95B makes this possible. This is a uniquely powerful instrument for us, as we didn’t want to deal with something with issues like an EMCCD. With the Prime 95B, we can continually push the limits with lower and lower intensity signals at higher and higher framerates, and that’s exactly what we need for both the interferometry as well as the fluorescence mapping.”

diSPIM Light-SheetCustomer Stories

Prof. Matthias Weiss, Ivana Jeremic

Physics of Living Matter, University of Bayreuth, Germany


Prof. Matthias Weiss and PhD student Ivana Jeremic research challenging problems at the interface of physics and biology, focusing on understanding self-organization processes in living organisms. Prof. Weiss told us about his latest project, “We have built a new light sheet microscopy system for imaging dynamic processes within large samples, with Ivana’s project focusing on the embryogenesis of transgenic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans until gastrulation. Early C. elegans embryos seem to work on autopilot in terms of self-organization, and we have been successful already in monitoring mechanical cues that drive cell positions until gastrulation. With these data, we were able to even predict cell positions and migration paths via a computational model.”

“Now we want to dive a bit deeper and get information on how cells structure themselves internally before undergoing division, so we can learn more about individual steps during embryogenesis that has been missing in our analytical predictions so far.” Prof. Weiss and team are using an inverted SPIM (iSPIM) light sheet imaging system in order to observe cell behavior within C. elegans samples throughout development.

Figure 1: Images taken from a 3D stack of a C. elegans embryo in the two-cell state, acquired with the Kinetix sCMOS. High-intensity areas represent the actomyosin cortex that exerts chiral forces during cell division. The numbers on each image represent the z-position within the stack.


While light-sheet microscopy is well-suited to imaging large samples with relatively low illumination levels, the light sheet itself requires fine-tuning for the best results. Prof. Weiss told us more about his imaging challenges, “We want a light sheet that is long and thin enough so that we can get the full volume of the worm embryo, which is about 50 μm in diameter. Bleaching is an issue as excess light can poison the embryo. If we used something like laser scanning confocal, the embryo would never go beyond the four-cell stage and would die, so the light sheet with low laser illumination is ideal as we can even observe hatching.”

“Some of the fluorescent protein constructs within the sample change their expression during embryogenesis so therefore we have to be able to capture signals from low to high intensity without having to change camera modes, so we need a high dynamic range.”

Alongside a sensitive camera with a high dynamic range, this project is also best suited to a detector with a large sensor and a small pixel in order to capture the maximum resolution across the largest field of view.

The Moment is an easy-to-use plug and play camera that produces quality images with a good time resolution. We didn’t have any problems.


The Kinetix sCMOS is an ideal solution for this application as well as light-sheet microscopy in general, combining a balanced 6.5 μm pixel with a huge 10-megapixel array across a 29 mm sensor, resulting in high resolution across the whole C. elegans embryo even at lower magnifications.

Prof. Weiss told us about his experience with the Kinetix, “Typically we can take 50 images through the volume of the worm embryo in around 5 seconds, but due to the improved signal-to-noise ratio with the Kinetix we can further tune our experiments and image faster with shorter exposure times so we can also look at more rapid features within the sample.”

“Also, with the greater quantum efficiency of the Kinetix, we can tune down the laser intensity so that we can be gentler and keep it more in the native state. In the long term, we intend to also image and rate man-made bio fabricates over days, so we really need the sensitivity in order not to perturb the samples’ development.”

“We will use dynamic range mode for the good signal-to-noise ratio at the decent speed and ability to image weak and intense signals, we were impressed by the signal-to-noise ratio we got with the Kinetix.”

High-Speed Voltage ImagingCustomer Stories

Prof. Zhenyu Gao, Prof. Daan Brinks

Department of Neuroscience, Erasmus University Medical Center, The Netherlands


The lab of Prof. Zhenyu Gao at the Erasmus University Medical Center studies how the brain controls motion, learning, and memory. In order to study these functions, Prof. Gao’s lab uses in vivo methods to detect electric signals in the brains of mice models. This is achieved by either utilizing electrophysiological methods or fluorescent optical methods, or a combination of both.

To visualize activity in the cortex of the mouse brain, voltage imaging can be used. This imaging technique provides an optical readout from fluorescent voltage indicators, which is an incredibly direct method of determining neuronal activities. Voltage imaging experiments are refined in the lab of Prof. Daan Brinks who collaborates tightly with Prof. Gao’s lab.

Figure 1: The Kinetix sCMOS connected to an imaging system within an electrophysiology cage, set up for electrophysiology and/or voltage imaging experiments.


In order to detect voltage signals in neurons, some key criteria need to be fulfilled. As imaging frequency needs to be in the range of 1-2 kHz (1000-2000 fps) in order to be able to precisely describe individual action potentials, a camera is required which is capable of this recording speed. Because of the high frame rate required, signal levels per frame will be very low, which requires a camera that has a very high sensitivity from the quantum efficiency point of view and also a low enough noise level to reliably detect even minute changes in the signal. Only by maximizing signal collection and minimizing noise contributions can a camera detect signals at low enough exposures (less than 1 ms) to operate at 1 kHz or more.

Signal levels of the currently used Archon voltage indicator reports signals from the soma (cell body) of neurons. While signal levels in electrophysiological methods can resolve even very low signal levels with high temporal resolution, voltage indicators work on the basis that their reported signals sometimes are only encoded in 1-10% increases (or decreases) in their baseline signal. These small fluctuations in signal need to be accurately collected and analyzed in order to determine neural function from voltage imaging data.

The Moment is an easy-to-use plug and play camera that produces quality images with a good time resolution. We didn’t have any problems.


The Kinetix sCMOS presents a groundbreaking combination of both speed and sensitivity, making it a proven and ideal solution for demanding applications like voltage imaging.

The Kinetix Speed Mode images at 500 fps across the full 29 mm field of view, increasing to 1000-2000 fps at smaller regions, even to over 100,000 fps for extreme speed applications. This kind of speed is only possible thanks to the low read noise and near-perfect 95% quantum efficiency of the Kinetix.

Prof. Gao told us that “the Kinetix is the perfect solution for our requirements to detect voltage signals in vivo because it is the optimal solution – namely being fast and sensitive”. In particular, another benefit of the Kinetix is that it can image very fast and still provide a much larger field of view at the same time than previous camera solutions. This enables Prof. Gao’s lab to image many neurons at once at high speeds, putting the neuronal activities in context with each other, eventually allowing a correlation between sensory stimuli, cortical activity, and behavioral consequences.

Plant Calcium ImagingCustomer Stories

Prof. Zhen-Ming Pei

Department of Biology, Duke University, North Carolina, US


The lab of Prof. Zhen-Ming Pei is interested in the early signalling events by which plants sense environmental signals and decode them to give the appropriate responses. Upon perception of external signals, cell surface receptors trigger an increase in cytosolic free calcium concentration, which is mediated by ion channels. Prof. Pei’s long-term goals are to identify these receptors and ion channels, isolate their interacting components, and assign molecular functions to them.

An example of Prof. Pei’s research comes from a recent Science publication, concerning the plant immune response surveillance system consisting of intracellular nucleotide–binding leucine-rich repeat receptors (NLRs) capable of triggering immunity in response to pathogen activity, leading to activation of plant defences.

The lab currently uses a multidisciplinary approach including biophysics, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular genetics, and function genomics, in order to dissect the signalling cascades of external calcium as well as nitric oxide in the model plant organism Arabidopsis.

Figure 1: Prime 95B sCMOS used for fluorescent Fura-2 calcium imaging of HeLa cells. HeLa cells contained a mutation in the N terminal RNL motif on intracellular [Ca2+] in NRG1.1 D485V and ADR1-expressing HeLa cells, as visualized with Fura-2, before or 2 minutes after CaCl2 addition. Calcium activity scaled to the pseudo-color bar.


Calcium imaging and live-cell imaging both come with their own challenges, requiring a camera that is sensitive enough to obtain a signal while also maintaining a fast imaging rate. In order to acquire images quickly enough to observe calcium activity a short exposure time is necessary, which in turn reduces the time available to collect signal, resulting in a low signal level. Cameras for this application would need to maximize signal collection and minimize noise levels in order to get a high signal-to-noise ratio while imaging at speed.

For Prof. Pei’s calcium imaging experiments, Fura-2 fluorescence imaging was performed using a Zeiss Axiovert microscope equipped with two filter wheels and an sCMOS camera. With excitation at ~350 nm and emission at ~500 nm, another challenge is using a camera with high sensitivity at a wide range of different wavelengths of light.

The Moment is an easy-to-use plug and play camera that produces quality images with a good time resolution. We didn’t have any problems.


The Prime 95B camera represents the ultimate in sCMOS sensitivity, featuring a large 11 μm pixel optimized for Nyquist at high magnifications and for low signal, high sensitivity imaging. The Prime 95B also operates at up to 80 fps across the full frame, allowing for easy capture of fast calcium signals while maintaining high sensitivity and a large field of view to fit in as many cells as possible.

Prof. Pei made use of the Prime 95B in their recent Science publication, imaging HeLa cells with the Fura-2 calcium indicator. Prof. Pei gave us his opinion on the Prime 95B sCMOS, saying “The camera is very good and we have not yet pushed it to the limit, we hope to use them more in the future.”


Jacob, P., Kim, N. H., Wu, F., El-Kasmi, F., Chi, Y., Walton, W. G., Furzer, O. J., Lietzan, A. D., Sunil, S., Kempthorn, K., Redinbo, M. R., Pei, Z. M., Wan, L., & Dangl, J. L. (2021). Plant “helper” immune receptors are Ca2+-permeable nonselective cation channels. Science (New York), 373(6553), 420–425. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abg7917