FLIR CMOS Machine Vision Cameras Make Digital Fluorescence Microscopy Affordable
Zaber Technologies designs and manufactures affordable, integrated, and easy-to-use precise positioning and motion control devices for applications in photonics and optics, life sciences, microscopy, and Industrial automation. Its MVR Motorized Inverted Microscope is a continuous-use, affordable microscope that lowers the barrier to entry for automated microscopy, saving researchers time and money.
One of the ways Zaber has been able to develop affordable yet powerful microscopes is by dramatically simplifying the optical path. By eliminating two eyepiece tubes and relying solely on the FLIR Blackfly USB3 camera for image observation and capture, vision system designers are able to eliminate the multiple precision prisms, lenses and iris commonly found in microscopes. This approach saves cost, improves performance, and reduces the microscope’s footprint.
The ultra-sensitive, low-noise CMOS camera developed by Teledyne FLIR is a key technology that has Zaber’s engineers rethinking how they design microscopes. Microscopes with comparable performance characteristics can cost upwards of $100,000, making digital fluorescence microscopy virtually out of reach for small laboratories, educational institutions, and private companies with limited resources. By combining high-value camera and motion control components from Teledyne FLIR and Zaber, the same performance is now available at a fraction of the original cost, expanding the range of applications for this technology.
Speed up discovery
Motorized microscopes allow researchers to automate repetitive imaging tasks, but are often too cost-prohibitive for small laboratories or companies. As a result, many researchers must book time on microscopes in shared imaging facilities or perform imaging tasks manually. This slows down discovery and puts the device at risk of settings being changed unexpectedly.
The MVR is designed to be affordable to most individual laboratories, enabling them to own a dedicated microscope for their own research. The MVR is also well suited for high-throughput, “industrial-grade” biological microscopy imaging. Zaber Technologies’ electric modules are proven to last for tens of millions of cycles, which means years of continuous operation before needing service.
Why Choose FLIR Machine Vision Cameras?
The choice to integrate a highly reliable, high performance and low cost machine vision camera from Teledyne FLIR was an easy decision for a microscope aimed at lowering the barrier to entry for digital automated microscopy.
“The FLIR Blackfly CMOS camera is one of the key components that allowed us to develop low-cost, high-performance microscopes like the MVR,” said David Goosen, product manager for microscopy imaging at Zaber Technologies. “The sensitivity of these cameras for low-light fluorescence imaging allows them to replace scientific-grade cameras that cost ten times more in many applications.”
The MVR microscope is equipped with a FLIR Blackfly USB3 camera. Zaber chose the Blackfly series of cameras because of the value of its combination of high quantum efficiency, low read noise, high pixel size and the fact that the camera is easily interchangeable with any Blackfly S USB3 camera. The Blackfly S-Series offers a wide range of the latest Sony sensors, ensuring MVR users can easily optimize their cameras to meet the specific needs of their applications.
Additionally, the Blackfly S USB3 camera series is fully compatible with the Micro-Manager open source microscope software used by Zaber, while USB3 connectivity makes setup easy while still delivering high data transfer rates. Other must-have features are C-interface compatibility and the option of larger sensor formats if required by the customer application. The performance, value, and wide selection of Teledyne FLIR machine vision cameras make them extremely versatile for specialized applications such as motorized microscopy.
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