June 19, 2012

Yokogawa Releases High-performance CSU-W1 Confocal Scanner Unit

Yokogawa Electric Corporation announced that it will release the CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit on June 20 in Japan and in late August outside Japan. This new product is an addition to the CSU series of confocal scanners, which are capable of observing live cells with high-speed and high sensitivity.

The CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit, a high-end model that follows the previously released CSU-X1, offers the superior performance and functionality that researchers require. With its significantly larger field of view, decreased crosstalk, and extended near-infrared spectral range, it can obtain sharper images of regions deeper inside live cells.

Development Background
In the life science field, high sensitivity, accuracy, and speed are required to capture three-dimensional images showing detailed structures inside live cells, including those in a short time. Yokogawa's CSU series confocal scanner units offer the excellent sensitivity and high-speed scanning to meet these needs, and can observe samples for longer periods of time with little of the damage normally caused by laser beams. To date, more than 2,000 units have been sold worldwide.

With the expansion of life science research in recent years on subjects such as induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and the human genome (for personalized medicine), researchers need far faster observation tools with higher sensitivity, multi-wavelength capability, and greater versatility. The CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit is a high performance, versatile tool that satisfies all these requirements.

Product Features
1.    Wider field of view and clearer imaging
The new CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit has a larger, newly designed Nipkow disk that allows imaging of areas up to four times the size possible with previous models. This quadruples throughput and increases the likelihood that images of phenomena will be captured even when it is difficult to predict where they will occur.

The distance between the pinholes on the disk has also been widened, reducing the flare caused by the leakage of light from adjacent pinholes (crosstalk). As a result, images are clearer.

2.    Various options for multi-wavelength observation and selectable pinhole size
Three models are provided: a single-camera model, a two-camera model for two-wavelength simultaneous observation, and a single-camera, split-view model for two-wavelength simultaneous observation in a single image. A disk with 50 μm pinholes (appropriated for high magnification) and a disk with 25 μm pinholes (appropriated for low magnification) are available. Users have the option of selecting one or both disk types, and in the latter case can electrically switch between the two disk types.

3.    Expanded wavelength up to Near-infrared for deeper observation
Confocal scanner units use laser beams to excite fluorescence-stained samples and observe the fluorescence. As an option, lasers with a near-infrared up to 785 nm wavelength are available for the CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit. The longer wavelength laser beams penetrate farther, enabling the observation of regions deeper inside live cells.

Major Target Markets
Cellular research for biology, medicine, pharmacology, agriculture, and drug discovery

  • Real-time observation of protein behavior and physiological responses in live cells
  • Observation of two/three-dimensional structures and changes in cells and living tissues

Yokogawa's Approach to This Field
Yokogawa developed a revolutionary confocal scan technology combining a Nipkow disk with a microlens array and released the CSU10 confocal scanner unit (30 frames per second) in 1996. Yokogawa continued to develop ever faster confocal scanners, leading to the release of the CSU-X1 (2,000 fps) in 2007. CSU series confocal scanners are well regarded as an essential tool for observation in the life science field and over 2,000 units have been sold.

Confocal scanner 
A confocal scanner is a scanning unit that focuses laser beams through a lens and continuously observes the reflection or fluorescence. This unit can acquire images at selected depths without the grinding or cutting of samples. A three-dimensional image can be created by processing the sliced image data. By irradiating the fluorescence-stained samples with laser beams and observing the fluorescence, the unit can acquire clear, high resolution images.
Such features make confocal scanners useful tools for observing live cells in real time, and they are widely used by researchers in the life science field.

Laser beams emitted from a light source pass through the objective lens and are focused on the sample (on the focal plane of the objective lens). The reflected laser beam or fluorescence pass back from the sample through the objective lens to the beam splitter (dichroic mirror), are re-focused onto the pinholes on the observation side, and then reach the detector.
Although unfocused light is also emitted from the sample, it cannot pass through the pinholes on the observation side. Only the information on the focal plane of the objective lens is obtained. As only the point information corresponding to a pinhole can be acquired, the target surface must be scanned with laser beams to acquire the plane information.

Conventional confocal scanners use a mechanical scanning system to vary the direction of a single laser beam and scan the target area, limiting the scanning speed. In contrast, Yokogawa's CSU series confocal scanners use a high-speed multi-pinhole disk (Nipkow disk) and approximately 1,000 laser beams to achieve a simultaneous scanning of the target area (multi-beam scanning), resulting in the high scanning speed of 2,000 fps.

The numerous holes on the Nipkow disk are arranged in a spiral pattern. By combining this disk with a microlens array disk, Yokogawa has succeeded in reducing the scattering of laser light and dramatically improving light efficiency while maintaining a high-speed scanning capability.

About Yokogawa
Yokogawa's global network of 25 manufacturing facilities and 80 companies spans 54 countries. Since its founding in 1915, the US$3 billion company has been engaged in cutting-edge research and innovation, securing more than 7,200 patents and registrations, including the world's first digital sensors for flow and pressure measurement. Industrial automation and control, test and measurement, information systems and industry support are the core businesses of Yokogawa. For more information about Yokogawa, please visit the website www.yokogawa.com