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Time-Lapse Imaging System

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The perfect solution for long term, live cell time-lapse microscopy.

The Nikon BioStation IM-Q is a compact cell incubator and monitoring system that allows users with minimal microscopy experience to conduct live cell imaging without a steep learning curve. The BioStation IM-Q time-lapse imaging system facilitates a broad array of short-term and long-term time-lapse experiments, including studies of cell growth, morphology, and protein expression, by providing consistent environmental control of temperature, humidity and gas concentration in combination with phase and fluorescence imaging of exceptional quality. Additionally, researchers can select from two types of microscope cameras. Perfusion capabilities further expand experimental possibilities.

Key Features

Total System Integration

The BioStation IM-Q incorporates a motorized inverted microscope, an incubation chamber, and a high-sensitivity cooled CCD camera into a single package. Being an all-in-one, complete solution from one vendor, the IM-Q overcomes stability and compatibility issues experienced in multi-vendor systems. Additionally, BioStation has a small footprint and is very easy to set up, requiring no alignment.

BioStation IM-Q Diagram

Environmental Control

Evironmental Control

Cells are easily maintained at the appropriate temperature, humidity and CO2 (or O2 ) levels with BioStation IM-Q. 5% CO2 (or O2 ), either from a premixed tank or the optional CO2 (or O2) mixer is humidified by bubbling through a bottle of water located at the front of the instrument. Sensors located throughout the instruments keep the temperature of the sample at 37° C.

Optional Tri-gas mixers and CO2 mixers are available without sensors.

Phase and Fluorescence Imaging Capabilities

Phase contrast images of unsurpassed quality are obtained with BioStation IM-Q, which uses a red LED as the transmitted light source. BioStation’s phase elements never need alignment, and the red transmitted light was proven to be cell friendly. With 2 channel fluorescence imaging, using standard Nikon filter cubes and Intensilight illumination system, BioStation IM is the solution for many researchers’ advanced applications.

The BioStation IM-Q contains Nikon's ultra-high quality, high-sensitivity monochrome DS-Qi1 digital camera.

BioStation IM-Q Fluorescence

Thermal and Mechanical Stability

The BioStation IM-Q features a no focus drift design and a vibration damping chassis. Combined with the thermal stability provided by the totally integrated incubation system, the mechanical stability offered by BioStation IM-Q allows researchers to image for hours or even days without focus drift. The fixed stage prevents even semi-adherent cells so multi-point time-lapse is optimized.

Time-lapse imaging without focus drift

Photos courtesy of: Dr. Chieko Nakada, Dr. Yuuri Nemoto, Dr. Hiroko Hijikata, Dr. Akihiro Kusumi, Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences. Kyoto University

Powerful, Intuitive Software and Internal Motorized X, Y and Z

Dedicated control software ensures easy operation, allowing the user to select between GUI’s for live observation, time-lapse settings, and acquired image viewer. Multichannel, multipoint timelapse imaging can be set up easily by following the instructions on the GUI. The objective has 6mm of travel in X and Y, allowing large areas of the field to be sample. Additionally, moving the objective instead of the stage lends stability and repeatability to the system. Large composite movies from multiple fields of view is now possible.

BioStation IM-Q Software

Two Versions for Optimal Image Quality

BioStation IM-Q can be ordered in two versions:

  • CELL-S2 is for use with a glass bottom 35mm dish; model has a 40x 0.8 NA Plan Fluor objective yielding magnifications of 20x, 40x, and 80x.
  • CELL-S2-P is for use with a plastic bottom 35mm dish; model has a 20x 0.5 NA Plan Fluor objective yielding magnifications of 10x, 20x, and 40x.

Hi-Q4 Culture Dish Enables Multi-sample Observation

Hi-Q4 Culture Dish

Nikon’s specialized Hi-Q4 culture dish is divided into four segments for multi-sample observation. This optional dish also features an incorporated plane parallel top plate to prevent light path distortion by the meniscus and enables high-quality phase contrast observation.

The Hi-Q4 also enables fluorescence, and is easy and safe to handle. The low height of the dish allows the use of high N.A. objectives for optimum performance and easy micromanipulation.

Hi-Q4 dishes are available with surfaces treated for tissue culture, guaranteeing optimal growth and proliferation. A lockable lid minimizes evaporation, while gas can penetrate through the base, allowing long-term cell culture and analysis. Hi-Q4 dishes have an average shelf life of two and a half years.

Note: Since the culture dish cover is plastic, the use of DIC is not recommended.

Monochrome Cooled-CCD Camera for High-sensitivity Fluorescence Requirements

BioStation's high-performance DS-Qi1 digital camera features a high-sensitivity CCD, which has outstanding quantum efficiency (>65% at 500nm), combined with low read noise. This allows the capture of even low light fluorescence signals. Intensity and time of fluorescence excitation can therefore be minimized to reduce photobleaching. The DS-Qi1 also features an ultra-sensitive 2 megapixel CCD with superior linearity, and a quantitivity index, which has been improved to >98%. This, together with reduced noise, assures comparable, quantitative image data collection over a wide exposure range.

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