Part of the Oxford Instruments Group

Andor's 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 and physical sciences, the multi-megapixel cameras offer a large field of view and high resolution, without compromising read noise, dynamic range or frame rate.

NEW Sona & Marana - Back-illuminated sCMOS cameras

  • Back-illuminated 95% QE
  • Up to 4.2 Megapixel
  • -45 °C cooled – highest available sensitivity!
  • Microscopy – Capture large fields of cells & minimize phototoxicity
  • Seven Reasons to Choose: Sona | Marana
  • Astronomy – NEO detection, space debris tracking, solar
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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 for Physical Science Applications

NEOs and Space Debris

A Near-Earth Object (NEO) is any small Solar System body whose orbit brings it into proximity with Earth. As of March 2018, almost 18,000 Near Earth Asteroids have been discovered, of which 887 are larger than 1 km. The inventory is much less complete for smaller objects, which still have potential for large scale damage. While asteroids are constantly being eliminated from our solar system, unfortunately new ones enter it! Thus NEO surveys are required as an ongoing discipline in astronomy.

Space Debris is a term for the mass of defunct human-made objects in Earth orbit, such as old satellites and spent rocket stages. There are about 500,000 pieces of space junk down to items about 0.5 inches (1.27 centimetres) wide in orbit. Of those, about 21,000 objects are larger than 4 inches (10.1 cm) in diameter.

Andor’s family of sCMOS cameras offers the perfect selection of specifications to serve as NEO and Space Debris tracking cameras – large FOV, high resolution, rapid frame rates, low noise and high QE sensitivity enable high-quality data capture of even relatively small (and dim) objects.

Adaptive Optics in Astronomy (Wavefront Sensing)

Adaptive Optics is an established technique that uses deformable mirrors to provide real time compensation of wavefronts that are distorted by turbulence in the upper atmosphere, thus affording considerable resolution enhancement from ground based telescopes.

Andor sCMOS can be used to address the high speed demands required of wavefront sensing, providing closed loop feedback at several hundred frames per second. Furthermore, Andor’s latest generation sCMOS physical science platform, Marana, is architected to minimize latency in AO set-ups, through transmitting pixel row data for real time analysis as soon as the information is available, thus avoiding the need to first assemble an entire image before it leaves the camera.

Fluid Dynamics using Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV)

Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV) is an optical method of flow visualization used in research and industry to obtain velocity measurements and related properties in fluids. By taking two closely spaced images or ‘snapshots’ of the species, and using correlation algorithms, it is possible to build up 2D and 3D dynamic flow maps. The key to successful measurements is capturing short pulses of scattered light from the species (or tracers added to it) within a well-controlled timescale on the order of a few 100’s of nanoseconds to a few microseconds typically. 

Generally PIV requires a high sensitivity detector that offers accurate timing schemes in terms of triggering capability.

Andor offers sCMOS solutions for PIV both in our Zyla 5.5 and Neo 5.5 cameras, which offer global shutter snapshot exposure capability. Alternatively, the iStar sCMOS intensified sCMOS camera can be used for PIV, offering enhanced rejection of background photons through use of nanosecond exposure gating, synchronised to the laser pulses.

Dynamic X-Ray Imaging using Zyla HF

The need to acquire multiple images per second is becoming increasingly relevant in the field of X-ray imaging, for example, facilitating faster generation of high resolution 3D reconstructions in X-Ray Tomography or enabling real time imaging of fast processes in Engineered Materials Studies.

Andor offers a solution for fast X-ray imaging in our Zyla-HF [Link to Zyla-HF page] indirect detection camera, facilitating up to 100 fps at 5.5 Megapixel resolution. The outstanding design of Zyla-HF delivers the highest transmission and spatial resolution performance associated with state-of-the-art single fibre optic plate bonding, while also taking advantage of the very fast frame rate, ultra-low noise performance and exceptional field of view of sCMOS technology.

Its compact format, multiple mounting points and modular input configuration for scintillators or Beryllium filter integration allow ease of integration into laboratory setup or integrator (OEM) systems.</p.

Neutron Radiography & Tomography

Neutron imaging has wide industrial and scientific significance and can provide detailed information concerning the inner structure and composition of objects. The principle of neutron imaging is based on the attenuation, through both scattering and absorption, of a directional neutron beam by the matter through which it passes. Since different materials vary in their ability to attenuate neutrons, then both composition and structure can be probed. The technique is also non-destructive in nature, and has been effectively applied to artefacts of archaeological significance.

Traditionally CCD’s have been used as imaging cameras for neutron tomography, however, this presents a limitation for measuring dynamic processes in real time. For the faster framing requirements, or to perform faster 3D tomography (or even 4D: 3D + time), then Andor’s sCMOS portfolio provide wonderful options. The Marana 4.2B-11 back-illuminated sCMOS, with large field of view 32 mm sensor, 95% QE and frame rates up to 48 fps presents an ideal solution.

Cold Atoms and Bose Einstein Condensation

In the past few decades, ultra-cold matter has become a highly dynamic and fascinating field of study. Research around the world is establishing a high level of understanding of the underlying physics for applications, such as inertial guidance systems, atomic clocks, quantum computing and cryptography.

The high and broad QE profile of Andor sCMOS cameras provides excellent coverage of the visible / NIR wavelength range, often needed to image ultracold fermions at wavelengths of 670 nm and above, in both fluorescence and absorption type set-ups. The Marana 4.2B-11 with UV optimization also provides enhanced sensitivity for cold ion studies of magnesium (280 nm) and calcium (397 nm).

Quantum Optics

Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles remain connected, even over large distances, so that actions performed on one particle have an effect on the other. Understanding of quantum entanglement forms the basis of the growing fields of quantum computing and quantum cryptography.

Thanks to their single-photon sensitivity, EMCCDs have been the detectors of choice for many years in experiments involving quantum optics, but sensitive sCMOS cameras have also been successfully used in quantum optics experiments. Indeed, they are expected to become increasingly popular for imaging of qubit states and general validation of basic concepts.

Andor sCMOS cameras can combine large field of view, high speed and high resolution with an image intensifier option, to provide an adaptable solution for experiments involving single entangled photons, atoms or polaritons.

Solutions for all of your needs

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
Specifications Request Pricing
Marana sCMOS

Marana sCMOS

  • Ultimate Sensitivity for Physical Sciences: 95% QE & -45 °C cooled
  • Large FOV for astronomy
  • Additional UV optimization – 266 nm and 355 nm
Specifications Request Pricing
Zyla 4.2 PLUS sCMOS

Zyla 4.2 PLUS

  • Superb Sensitivity and Speed: 82% QE & 100 fps
  • Ideal for 60x and 40x objectives
  • Suitable for Life and Physical Science applications
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Zyla 5.5 sCMOS

Zyla 5.5 sCMOS

  • Ultimate Price/Performance Workhorse: 60% QE & 100 fps
  • 5.5 MP: Ideal for 22mm c-mount port
  • 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
Specifications Request Pricing

Ultimate sCMOS Sensitivity

The NEW Sona and Marana cameras contain back-illuminated sCMOS sensors with up to 95% QE which, coupled with 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 with back-illumination and large pixel size is well suited to maximizing photon capture and Signal to Noise.

Ultimate sCMOS Field of View

The flagship Sona 4.2B and Marana 4.2B 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

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 12-bit boosted speed modes. However, the Zyla models are the ultimate solutions for following high speed processes, while maintaining lowest possible noise and maximum dynamic range.  

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 and 2.0B 85,000 53,000:1
Marana 4.2B 85,000 53,000:1
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%.

Model Options