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Using the new Sona back-illuminated sCMOS camera with Olympus microscopes and CellSens

The new Sona back-illuminated sCMOS camera from Andor has been developed for the researchers that demand the maximum field of view and highest possible sensitivity. This document provides some information on how to use the Sona camera with Olympus microscopes.

  • Sona is supported in cellSens Dimension Software version 2.3
  • Sona is compatible with current Olympus microscopes e.g. IX73/83

Q. What model of Sona allows maximum field of view from my Olympus microscope?

A. The Sona 4.2B-11 models provides a 32 mm FOV – this is 62% higher than other cameras using the same sensor which are limited to 25 mm. To see the full specifications of Sona click here

Sona 4.2B-11. 4.2 Megapixel. 2048 x 2048. 11 µm pixels. Andor Part #: SONA-4BV11.

Q. If the microscope field Number (FN) is 20-22 mm how can I access the full 32 mm array of the Sona?

A. By using additional magnification on the microscope port. Additional optics, either magnification or de-magnification are commonly used to match microscope field numbers to the different sensor sizes available.

There are many ways that this is done – magnification changer built into the microscope e.g. 1x/1.6x, lens couplers from the microscope manufacturer as well as 3rd parties.

Region of Interest Objective Mag (x NA Coupler Mag (x) Over-Sampling FOV diagonal on sample (mm) Port Diagonal required (≥ mm
2048 x 2048 60 1.4 1.5 2.14 0.35 21
2048 x 2048 60 1.4 2 2.85 0.27 16
2048 x 2048 40 0.95 1.5 2.10 0.53 21
2048 x 2048 40 0.95 2 2.80 0.40 16

Andor provide a 2x magnifier and coupling system specifically for mounting the Sona to Olympus microscopes. Use Andor MCU x2 lens coupler: Andor part # MCU-SONA-OL

Microscope Model Field Number, mm (FN)
IX73 IX73P1F 22
IX73P2F 20
IX83 IX83P1ZF 22
IX83P2ZF 20

Q. Why choose Sona?

A. The new Sona is the most sensitive back-illuminated sCMOS camera available and has been developed specifically to get the best imaging performance from advanced microscopes such as the Olympus IX73 and IX83 series.

  • The Sona 4.2B-11 model maximises the field of view from the microscope. Other cameras that use the same GS 400 BSI sensor only provide 25 mm as they cannot access the full 2048x2048 sensor array. Sona 4.2B-11 therefore provides a 62% higher FOV.
  • Sensitivity: Sona has 95% QE and reduces noise to a minimum due to the deepest available cooling for the lowest noise. This provides superb image clarity
  • Dynamic Range: Sona has an exceptional dynamic range easily handling demanding samples such as neurons.
  • Sona features UltraVacTM vacuum technology – ensuring the long term performance from the sensor with no need to “top up” gas that leaks out over time from back-filled cameras.

Q. How do I mount the Sona 4.2B-11 to an Olympus microscope?

A. The Andor MCU (MCU-SONA-OLY) comes as a complete kit (figure 2) to mount the Sona via a T-mount fitting with a Olympus specific adaptor for mounting to an Olympus microscope.

Figure 1: The Andor MCU is comprised of 3 parts: a) Olympus specific adaptor, b) the x2 lens tube and c) the Sona T-mount connectio

Q. Are camera mounting feet available for side port mounting?

A. Yes- Andor recommends using mounting feet, Andor Part # TR-IXON-MNT-110 (optical height 110mm).

Q. Can I use a Sona if I am using a microscope with a 22 mm C-mount?

A. Yes:

  • The Sona 2.0B-11 model provides a smaller sensor array option (1400x1400) in a native 22mm C-mount format for customers that want the sensitivity offered by Sona but do not require the maximum FOV from the larger sensor version. This is currently not supported in CellSens but is supported in micro-manager and of course Andor Solis and Fusion software.
  • The Sona 4.2B-11 can use an optional C-mount Adaptor (Andor Part #: CC-MEC-11936), however this will restrict the array to 1400x1400 ROI.

Q. Is Sona supported in cellSens software?

A. Yes - Sona 4.2B-11 is fully supported in cellSens Dimension 2.3.

Category: Technical Article

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