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German company PCO has launched the Pco.flim system to improve the performance of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy. The camera makes use of fluorescence lifetime imaging in the frequency domain, making it suitable for numerous applications in the field of biomedical research. According to the company, the camera is also differentiated by the charge-swing in its sensor.

In normal camera chips, the light creates charge carriers that are recorded in a detection bin – one per pixel. The quantity of charge carriers and therefore the brightness of each pixel is measured electronically. The Pco.flim system has two of these bins per pixel, which can be switched at a high speed. This makes it possible to do more than measure the total quantity of light – it is also possible to sample light information over time. This is of particular significance in fluorescence microscopy, which is widely used in the fields of cell research and molecular medicine.

The Pco.flim system camera has a resolution of 1,008 x 1,008 pixels, and the pixels can be switched at a frequency of up to 40MHz. This can be synchronised with the modulation of the excitation light, meaning that the camera can detect delays of less than 100 picoseconds between the excitation light and the fluorescence. Another advantage is that the Pco.flim system only requires minimal additional equipment.