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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Nikon Instruments Launches Fully-Automated A1 Confocal Laser Microscope Series

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via PRNewswire

MELVILLE, N.Y., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Nikon Instruments, Inc. (www.nikoninstruments.com) today launched the A1 series of confocal laser point scanning systems, which seamlessly integrates with the new Ti-E research inverted microscope. The fully-automated confocal imaging system literally brings biological imaging to life, capturing high-quality confocal images of cells and molecular events at high speed and enhanced sensitivity. Ideal for facilities with a broad range of users, the A1 has been designed with ground breaking new optical and electronic technology innovations to provide unprecedented system flexibility.

Two models are available: the A1 and the A1R. The fully-automated A1 offers standard paired galvanometers with high resolution scanning at up to 4096 X 4096 pixels, with a standard speed of two frames per second (fps) for 512 x 512 pixels. The A1R model incorporates a unique hybrid scanner system of paired galvanometers coupled to a high speed resonant galvanometer. This supports advanced research methods using photo-activation fluorescence proteins and facilitates high-speed, live-cell work with a huge array of new imaging strategies. The total system offers new, ergonomic, user-friendly design and work flow utilizing Nikon's industry-leading NIS-Elements applications software, which has been enhanced for complete confocal image acquisition and analysis, providing unprecedented system flexibility.

A true advancement in confocal imaging, the A1 series offers many new and exclusive features for confocal image and data acquisition, including Nikon's exclusive DISP (Dual Integration Signal Processing) and a high-speed fiber- optic communication data transfer system. DISP increases sensitivity by using a pair of integrating digitizers to assure data is gathered over the full pixel period. The fiber-optic communication data transfer system can move data at a maximum of four giga bites per second - 40 times faster than the previous method. This allows transfer and recording of image data (512 x 512 pixel images) in five modes at more than 30 fps.

An exclusive low-angle incidence dichroic mirror realizes 30% increase of fluorescence efficiency. Additionally, brighter images are obtained with the industry's first continuously variable hexagonal pinhole, which replaces the standard four-sided aperture. With the hexagonal pinhole, maximum confocality is maintained while achieving higher brightness equivalent to that of an ideal circular pinhole.

"The A1R model defines a new level of scanning control with resonant and galvanometer scanners that can be used simultaneously and at significantly improved speeds," said Stan Schwartz , vice president of Nikon Instruments. "We've incorporated faster scanning speeds, unique photo-activation and simultaneous image detection, all with improved sensitivity and reduced photo- toxicity effects, to achieve a high-performance live-cell confocal imaging system with a full range of application modalities and user defined work flow. When used with the Ti series of inverted microscopes, the A1 offers a complete confocal system that is an ideal platform for a variety of high-level techniques in principal investigator labs and core imaging facilities alike."

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