Imaging Systems and links
For genetics and screening: We use TopCount automated scintillation counters from Packard
(now PerkinElmer) to obtain
high-throughput, quantitative luminescence data, growing seedlings in 96-well plates.
This model is useful because it holds the plates in stacks outside the
instrument, where lighting can be applied.
For leaf movement: We use simple, multi-channel video systems for monitoring
leaf movement and plant growth rhythms. This is advantageous
because it doesn't depend on a reporter gene.
To image luminescence from luciferase reporters, our lab uses two types of low-light camera. These are housed in a purpose-built imaging facility.
The selection of a camera system can be complex - we strongly recommend an
on-site, head-to-head demonstration of a few, suitable instruments, with the biological materials of
interest and the manufacturer's local support staff. Deep
cooling (below -70ºC) and a back-thinned CCD
sensor are required for our applications, unless the cameras include
A few jargon-busting resources are
available on the Web; the trade publications are also a good resource (such as Advanced
Imaging or Biophotonics). As better Peltier cooling becomes available, new camera designs
should avoid the major inconveniences of cryogenic cooling
with liquid nitrogen for very low-light work.
The CryoTiger LN-free cooling system was a promising development,
but is now superseded by 'deeper'
interest for luminescence might include cameras from Photonic Science, systems from Photek
or the turn-key systems NightOwl
Berthold, now PerkinElmer) and
Aequoria (from Hamamatsu). On-chip electron amplification CCDs
are now available in
cameras from Andor, Hamamatsu and Roper, e.g. the Cascade series. Hamamatsu also
offers electron-bombardment cameras, another form of intensification.
Video Imaging Links