Part of the Oxford Instruments Group

Fast and Sensitive sCMOS Cameras

Andor’s Scientific CMOS (sCMOS) cameras series deliver an advanced set of performance features that render them ideal for high fidelity, quantitative scientific measurements. Providing a wide gamut of application advantages across the biological sciences, the multi-megapixel cameras offer a large field of view and high resolution, without compromising read noise, dynamic range or frame rate.

  • Sona sCMOS - Back-illuminated 95% QE & -45 °C cooled, up to 4.2 Megapixel, 6.5 & 11 µm pixel size
  • Neo sCMOS - 5.5 Megapixel, 6.5 µm pixel, Vacuum cooled to -40 °C, Global & Rolling Shutter
  • Zyla sCMOS - up to 82% QE & 100 fps, 4.2/5.5 Megapixel - ultimate price/perfomance workhorse
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sCMOS for Life Science Applications

Cell Motility

Cell movements involved in cell polarity, adhesion and membrane ruffling are just a handful of phenomena that are critical for complex processes including axonal guidance, tissue regeneration and morphogenesis. At the level of single cell visualization, cell motility envelopes a broad area of study comprising the mechanisms behind unregulated cell growth and propagation during metastatic cancer changes.

We can help you visualize the cytoskeletal dynamics and membrane morphology of moving cells with high resolution and sensitivity, such that the underlying mechanisms are preserved in the living cell for as long as possible, through minimization of both phototoxic damage and photobleaching of the fluorophores involved.

Andor sCMOS family offers a selection of cameras well suited to the demands of large field-of-view, high-resolution, rapid frame rate imaging of motile cells specimens.

Developmental Biology

Imaging has been instrumental for following the entire lifespan of organisms to track fates of developing cells, tissues and organs. Whole-embryo and whole-body imaging of well-established model organisms including the zebrafish and C. elegans let us understand various interconnected functional networks that shed light on nerve impulse propagation in neural circuits or ventricular pacemakers in heart models.

Many experiments in this field will demand high performance sCMOS cameras to augment complex optical systems with seamless imaging. 

Andor sCMOS cameras provide solutions to the rapid frame rates and large fields of view that are inherent to study of developmental specimens using the Light Sheet Microscopy technique, also lending themselves equally well to rapid ion flux fluorescence measurements in embryo signalling.

Plasma Membrane

Analysis of phenomena associated with the plasma membrane is crucial for a large number of biological models involving cell adhesion, cell-to-cell communication, signal transduction as well as cell fate differentiation.

The plasma membrane can be imaged in many ways, some of which can involve direct membrane labelling with lipophilic or voltage sensitive dyes. Imaging of this busy and very delicate part of the cell is not a mean feat and requires highly sophisticated imaging solutions to unravel the cell membrane’s multi-fold functionality without damaging it in the process.

Rapid remodelling of the plasma membrane can be imaged with one of the sensitive Andor sCMOS cameras boasting from 2.0 to 4.2 megapixel resolution and up to 95% peak QE, perfectly suited to the low light conditions inherent to TIRF Microscopy.

Intracellular Trafficking

Without mechanisms to allow ongoing traffic of molecules, the cell’s finely tuned machinery would immediately grind to a halt. Therefore, fast and sensitive imaging is crucial for studies of endosome cycling, Golgi vesicles pathways, axonal transport, hormone release or synaptic vesicle pool replenishment.

Andor sCMOS cameras have for many years been the detector of choice for experiments involving imaging of cellular traffic. With their large FOV, resolution and speed, these cameras are ideal for tracking intricate events and dependencies occurring within the cell’s transport and communications networks.


Three-dimensional (3D) organoids may be derived from live patient induced pluripotent stem cells to create a model system that can be used to test multiple hypotheses in a much simpler environment than a natural organ. 

For example, certain critical mutations known to initiate cancer development can be introduced by gene editing and trialled with regard to their overall impact in the carcinogenic pathway. Imaging of such gene edits within organoids can provide insight into the number of genetic mutations required for cancer development.

Using Andor sCMOS cameras, ideally complimented by the spinning disk confocal technique, you can achieve superb image quality of your organoid samples across 3D + time dimensions.

Gene Editing

Recent years have seen a gradual increase in the number of studies related to Crispr-CAS9 system where this novel and versatile tool has been used with great precision for DNA editing and a multitude of applications that can benefit from this. Depending on the type of sample and labels used, this type of imaging may require iXon EMCCD cameras with their unrivalled sensitivity for extremely low-light signals. 

However, for more brightly labelled Crispr-Cas9 constructs, the arrival of low noise, high QE Andor sCMOS cameras makes them ideal tools for fast and sensitive detection of light emitted by labelled DNA/RNA or related proteins involved in strand cleavage and modification of the existing genetic code.


Imaging of neural correlations has been well established from studies done in model organisms including C. elegans and Drosophila. Experiments performed in these animals and the combination of whole cell labelling and whole organism imaging yielded valuable insights linking certain molecular circuits to stereotypical behaviours of the whole animal.

By combining techniques of optogenetics, photo-stimulation and classical fluorescent labelling we have now gained access to cells and tissues previously rendered invisible. Fast and sensitive sCMOS cameras provide images of large groups of firing of neurons in rapidly moving animals, helping you decode the circuitry behind behaviours.

sCMOS Camera Solutions for Life Science

Andor offers a complete range of sCMOS cameras, spanning a wide envelop of performance attributes. Whether your life science or physical science application requires a large field of view, ultimate sCMOS sensitivity, high speed capability, high resolution or even a compact and light OEM design, you can be confident that we can guide you towards the optimal solution.    

Sona - Back-Illuminated sCMOS

Sona sCMOS

  • Ultimate Sensitivity for Microscopy: 95% QE & -45 °C cooled
  • Capture large fields of Cells
  • Adaptable to multiple microscope objective magnifications and ports
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Zyla 4.2 PLUS sCMOS

Zyla sCMOS

  • Superb Sensitivity and Speed up to 82% QE and 100 fps
  • 5.5 MP & 4.2 MP Options
  • Suitable for Life and Physical Science applications
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Neo 5.5 sCMOS

Neo 5.5 sCMOS

  • Deep Cooled, 5.5 Megapixel Solution: 60% QE & -40°C cooled
  • Global and Rolling shutter modes
  • Suitable for Life and Physical Science applications
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sCMOS Camera Model Comparison 

Ultimate sCMOS Field of View

The flagship Sona 4.2B-11 back-illuminated cameras utilize a unique technology approach to usefully access the entire 2048 x 2048 array, offering an impressive 32 mm sensor diagonal.

Sona sCMOS with 2048 x 2048 full array
Competitor back-illuminated sCMOS with restricted 1608 x 1608 array

Microscopy Field of View Advantage: Sona 4.2B-11 with 2048 x 2048 array has a 62% larger field of view than a competing back-illuminated sCMOS camera with a 1608 x 1608 array.  A 60x objective and additional coupler magnification* is utilized to access the full 2048 x 2048 array, while preserving Nyquist resolving clarity. 

*Magnifying Coupler Unit (MCU) available from Andor

For the commonly used 40x and 60x objectives and standard port sizes the new Sona 4.2B-6 with a 2048x2048 array and a smaller 6.5 µm pixel offers a perfect solution. Sona 4.2B-6 provides a stunning combination of sensitivity, speed and resolution to ensure the best performance from your microscope.  

Ultimate sCMOS Sensitivity

The NEW Sona camera contains back-illuminated sCMOS sensors with up to 95% QE which, coupled with either 6.5 or 11 µm pixels, means that they are optimized for maximum photon capture, ideal for light starved applications.

Signal to Noise

Comparative Signal to Noise under low light conditions (10 incident photons per 100 µm2 sensor area) - Under identical low light optical conditions, the Sona 4.2B-11 with back-illumination and large pixel size is well suited to maximizing photon capture and Signal to Noise.

sCMOS Solutions for Extended Dynamic Range

Andor sCMOS cameras each offer an Extended Dynamic Range functionality, supported by a 16-bit data range. Harnessing an innovative ‘dual amplifier’ sensor architecture, we can access the  maximum pixel well depth AND the lowest noise simultaneously, ensuring that we can quantify extremely weak and relatively bright signal regions in one snap.

All Andor sCMOS cameras offer a 16-bit Extended Dynamic range capability, therefore can capture both low and high signal detail with a single capture.
Model Well Depth (e-) Dynamic Range
Sona 4.2B-11 and 2.0B 85,000 53,000:1
Sona 4.2B-6 55,000 34,000:1
Zyla 4.2 PLUS 30,000 33,000:1
Zyla 5.5 30,000 33,000:1
Neo 5.5 30,000 33,000:1

Furthermore, to achieve best in class quantification accuracy, Andor have implemented enhanced on-head intelligence to deliver market-leading linearity of > 99.8%.

sCMOS Solutions for High Speed Imaging

sCMOS technology is based on highly parallel pixel readouts and as such is superbly architected to combine high frame rates and high resolution, while maintaining very low noise.

The Sona and Marana back-illuminated cameras each offer high speed modesThe new Sona 4.2B-6 offers an impressive 74 fps at 16-bit. However, the Zyla modelsremain the ultimate solutions for following high speed processes, while maintaining lowest possible noise and maximum dynamic range.