Equipment Leasing Solutions
Cell Imaging Systems

How Cell Imaging Works & How We Save You Time & Money

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Cell imaging system diagram

Advances in cell imaging technology have transformed the way biologists, pharmacologists, and toxicologists study cells, proteins, and a wide range of molecular interactions.

 Microscope, lens, and sample dish

As such, live-cell imaging has proven to be a crucial part of cellular analysis in fields like molecular biology, neuroscience, diagnostics, and immuno-oncology. When using cell imaging systems, researchers are able to:

  • Capture cell behavior in real-time
  • Assess cellular health
  • Quantify cell dynamics
  • Measure cell response to treatment

But, cellular experimentation is only as powerful as your cell imager. The capabilities and configuration of the imager, multi-mode reader (conventional microplate reading combined with widefield microscopy), or microscope can greatly impact your work. With the proper cell imaging system, you can be sure:

  • Cell numbers are accurately quantified in your 3D cell culture models
  • Cell migration is easily accomplished
  • Real-time kinetics are captured without issue
  • Multiparameter analysis is performed efficiently

That is to say, all of these factors will determine the success and reproducibility of imaging experiments and downstream assays.

Understanding cellular behavior, response, and structures of both single cells and populations is made possible with the advancement of cell imaging techniques and time-lapse imaging. Compared with fixed cell microscopy, live-cell imaging greatly increases the information available to life science researchers on how stimuli affect the life and death of cells.

Cell imaging systems and methods are suitable for a range of cell-based assays and applications, including:

  • Stem cell research
  • Cancer research
  • Toxicity screening
  • COVID-19 and infectious disease research
  • and much more

Cell Imager Configurations, Compatibility, & Applications

A hand holding a microscope lens with an eye drawn on

As mentioned, cell analysis and imaging applications can range from basic cell counts and confluence for culturing or assay preparation to automated assays and three-dimensional culture experiments, aiding many different types of research. Depending on the application needs of your lab or facility, there are several factors to consider.

Types of Microscopy

It’s important to consider what type of microscope you’ll need when performing cellular imaging. Imagers come equipped with a variety of microscopes, it just depends on what type of experimentation you’re carrying out.

From simple imaging technology, like brightfield microscopy, to multi-channel fluorescence imaging, you have a wide range of options. This includes phase contrast, confocal, color-brightfield, and quantitative phase-contrast microscopy.

It’s also important to consider whether you need automated imaging capabilities for your research and assays. Cell imaging systems, depending on the type of microscope equipped, can provide automation that increases throughput and screening times.

Live and Fixed Cell Imaging

Another factor to consider is visualization. Specifically, the live and fixed cell imaging capabilities of the system. In some cases, it’s only necessary to have an imager capable of analyzing fixed cells, but these days many labs and facilities work with live cells since they can extract more real-time data from an active sample.

For end-point measurements on cells or fixed tissue, a benchtop imager with fluorescent capabilities is usually sufficient. Yet, when working with live cells, an imager that can be integrated with an incubator is ideal.

The incubator moderates a number of important environmental factors that aid in the success of your experimentation by controlling evaporation:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • CO² and O² levels

A number of cell imagers can be placed directly in a dedicated incubator, while other systems have built-in incubation capabilities. While a dedicated incubator can provide the most stable conditions for live cells, it takes up additional lab space and typically generates higher costs.

Comparatively, built-in controls not only protect the cells, they allow you to record the environmental conditions present for any cross-checking purposes in case the experiment produces abnormal results.

Additionally, an injection port for reagent and drugs for immediate kinetic analysis is often important to these longer, live-cell experiments.

Image Resolution

The optical resolution of a cell imaging system is important no matter what. Depending on the application being performed, you should consider each system’s image resolution, which is set by the objective, or objective lens, of the imager’s microscope. It is located closest to the object and relays a real-time image of the object to the eyepiece.

When performing cell counting and confluence, an objective of 4x or 10x typically delivers the best resolution. However, if you’re performing applications that require high resolution, such as intracellular assays, you’ll need to make sure the imager has the required optical resolution.

High-throughput Requirements

If you’re working in a lab or facility that performs high-throughput or high-content experiments using microwell plates, or you wish to expand your research capabilities, having a cell imager that is compatible with a microplate or other automation can greatly benefit you.

Whole-well Imaging

Being able to observe and analyze all cells within a well is incredibly important for a number of reasons. It aids in effective cell counting and confluence and offers a huge benefit to any cytometry applications, including viability and cell death measurements.

A cell imager with whole-well imaging capabilities will reduce the amount of images per well and speed up image tiling and stitching.

Cell Counting and Confluence

Cell count is incredibly important to the cell imaging process. Accurately quantifying cells helps monitor cell health and proliferation rate and aids in cell-based assay preparation. Being able to reliably and consistently count cells is also critical when studying how modulators or drugs affect cell health.

While cell counting is a fundamental part of all cell imagers, it can be highly valuable to invest in an imager that can perform confluence analysis, as this is a powerful measurement of cell viability and health.

Cell confluence, the percentage of a culture dish surface covered by adherent cells, is an exceptional alternative to label-free cell counting and is a useful tool for measuring cytotoxic effects.

Furthermore, knowing the confluence level can be an important and routine step in your workflow that also ensures overall experimental reproducibility.

Cell Imager Leases to Fit Every Need

An animated cylindrical piece of a microscope

Founder-Friendly Leases

Our lease agreements are founder-friendly and flexible, helping you preserve working capital, strengthen the cash flow of your business, and keep business credit lines open for expansions, staffing, and other crucial operational expenses and business development opportunities.

2-5 Year Lease Lengths

Leases range from 2 to 5 years. Length will depend on several factors, including how long you want to use the equipment, equipment type, and your company’s financial position. These are standard factors leasing companies consider and help us tailor a lease agreement to fit your needs.

Your Choice of Manufacturer

We don’t carry an inventory. This means you’re not limited to a specific set of manufacturers. Instead, you can pick the equipment that aligns with your business goals and preferences. We’ll work with the manufacturer of your choice to get the equipment in your facility as quickly as possible.

Maintenance & Repair Coverage

Bundle preventive maintenance and repair coverage with your lease agreement. You can spread those payments over time. Easily maintain your equipment, minimize the chances something will break down, repair instrumentation quickly, and simplify your payment processes.

End-of-Lease Options

At the end of your lease, you have multiple options. You can either renew the lease at a significantly lower price, purchase the machine outright based on the fair market value of the original pricing, or call it a day and we’ll come the pick up the equipment for you free of charge.

No Loan-Like Terms

Our leases do not include loan-like terms, which can be restrictive or harmful in certain situations. We do not require debt covenants, IP pledges, collateral,  or equity participation. Our goal is to maximize your flexibility. When you lease with us, you’re collaborating with a true business partner.

In-House Underwriting Process

Our underwriting is done in-house. You can expect quicker turnaround, allowing you respond to your equipment needs as they arise. We require less documentation than traditional lenders and financiers and can get the equipment you need in operation more quickly.