Scientific-Grade Imaging Sensors For Life Scientists

Guest post by James Smith.

With the global clinical laboratory market slated to grow at an estimated CAGR of 6.8 percent between 2014 and 2020, the importance of clinical testing cannot be underestimated. The development of advanced lab testing techniques is expected to drive the market to a record high of USD 148.8 billion by 2020, making dynamic imaging experiments – the backbone of life science research – a focal point of 21st century R&D.

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Global clinical laboratory tests market, by product, 2013 & 2020 (USD Billion)

Dynamic imaging is a central component of lab testing, galvanizing a world of minute cell-level detail into actionable insights. However, for the average life scientist, the need to make hard trade-offs between price, focus and data management can limit the nature and kind of testing that can be done, and hence, the results that are reaped. Whether the research is on something as common as the place of springtime allergies in pediatrics, or as fresh as the role of epigenetic tags in inheritance, life scientists need a camera system that allows them access to minute data, sensitive performance and excellent data management and interpretation. Two imaging options available to them are Charged-Coupled Device (CCD) and scientific Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor (sCMOS) cameras. But which scientific-grade camera system works in which situation?

CCD vs. sCMOS – Choosing the correct scientific-grade camera

CCD and CMOS technologies both originated in the late 60s – early 70s, each designed to perform the same basic function: capturing, gathering and converting light to produce electronic signals. CCDC cameras dominated the scientific imaging market from the start, as first-generation sCMOS sensors struggled to fabricate quality data. Recent enhancements in sensor design, however, have closed the gap between CCD and sCMOS, allowing the latter to gain ground in life science circles.

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