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Nikon's EMCCD Monochrome Digital Camera Captures Low Level Fluorescence Images

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Nikon Instruments Inc. have unveiled the Nikon EMCCD Monochrome Digital Camera (DQC-FS). The camera is an ultra high-quality digital camera specifically designed for low-level fluorescence and according to Nikon, is an excellent choice for high speed and high sensitivity applications such as single molecule fluorescence, high speed calcium imaging and live cell fluorescent protein imaging. The camera can also be used with the LiveScan SFC confocal system and for micro spectroscopy.

The DQC-FS continues Nikon tradition of imaging innovation by amplifying low-light-level signals above the CCD read noise by employing unique electron multiplying CCD technology.

The camera offers researchers extremely high sensitivity through its on- chip multiplication gain. By incorporating this technology, the DQC-FS achieves, in an all solid-state sensor, the single-photon detection sensitivity typical of intensified or electron-bombarded CCDs at much lower cost and at a higher resolution than is characteristic of conventional intensified CCDs.

"Nikon's DQC-FS is another example of Nikon's continuing focus on advanced imaging through innovation," said Stan Schwartz, vice president, Nikon Instruments. "Capturing images in low light situations has become a priority in microscopy, and the demand for quality combined with multiple functions increases every day. The DQC-FS provides microscopists with the most sophisticated and light sensitive technology available for demanding digital imaging applications."

Recent imaging applications in wide field fluorescence and confocal microscopy have increasingly centered on the demanding requirements of recording rapid transient dynamic processes that may be associated with a very small photon signal and which often can only be studied in living cells or tissues.

Technological advances in producing highly specific fluorescent labels and antibodies, as well as dramatic improvements in camera, laser, and computer hardware have contributed to many breakthrough research accomplishments. Nikon's DQC-FS is capable of capturing even relatively weak signals at very high rates.

Incorporating a back-illuminated, frame transferred CCD, the camera produces a frame rate of 30 full frames per second at 10MHz to deliver an outstanding ability to record specimen data at high temporal frequency and high dynamic range using a 16-bit digitizer.

Nikon has bundled NIS-ELEMENTS F software with the new DQC-FS. NIS- Elements incorporates advanced acquisition control of the DQC-FS, including changing the digitalization rate, full binning control, and full gain controls that allow users to utilize all of the camera's features.

The software also features basic image capture capability for every Nikon Instruments digital camera, automated microscope, and numerous third-party devices. Optional NIS- Elements AR software extends the quantitative analysis virtues of the DQC-FS camera.