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iXon EMCCD Cameras for Microscopy & Life Science

With the iXon EMCCD microscope cameras, Andor have delivered a dedicated, truly high-end, yet accessible ultrasensitive scientific camera platform, designed specifically to drive the absolute best from EMCCD technology across all critical performance specs and parameters.

iXon Life - Exclusively for Fluorescence Microscopy 

  • Single photon sensitivity 
  • Back-illuminated > 95% QE 
  • Fast frame rates 
  • Unique price/performance
  • The ultimate detector for single molecules
  • Preserve accurate cell physiology 
  • Available with new SRRF-Stream+ super-resolution technology
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EMCCD Camera Applications 

SRRF-Stream for Super-Resolution Radial Fluctuations

SRRF is a NEW real time super-resolution microscopy functionality that operates on Andor’s iXon Life and iXon Ultra EMCCD cameras.

Aligned with Andor’s vision that super-resolution should be easily accessible to all, ‘SRRF-Stream enabled’ cameras unlock the means to perform real time super resolution microscopy on conventional modern fluorescence microscopes. Resolution improvement from 2- to 6-fold (50-150nm final resolution) can be expected for most datasets.

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Single Molecule Detection

For many years, Andor’s iXon EMCCDs have been the gold standard detectors of the biophysics laboratory. To this day they remaining the dominant detector type, operating in a low light regime that is less suited to even back-illuminated sCMOS cameras, especially under the critically demanding conditions of minimized fluorophore photobleaching. The accelerated readout rates of the iXon Life, especially combined with ‘Optically Centred Crop Mode’, means that dynamic single molecule processes can be better characterised.

The 13μm pixel of the 888 model provides superb single molecule resolving capability at the diffraction limit, while preserving optical photon collection efficiency.

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Physiology / Ion Imaging & Cell Motility

Unsurpassed EMCCD sensitivity and superb custom ROI speeds make the iXon Life 888 and 897 the best possible detectors for temporally resolving fast calcium sparks and waves under minimal dye concentrations, critical to reducing the ‘dye buffering effect’ that can distort the very physiology that is under study.

Light levels become more challenging still when combined with low light optical sectioning modalities, making EMCCD ultrasensitivity all the more necessary. The same EMCCD advantages play equally well to imaging of the motile cell.

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Spinning Disk Confocal Microscopy

The iXon Life 888 is the ideal detector to drive superlative performance from confocal spinning disk technology. Whilst affording superb confocality and low rates of phototoxicity, spinning disk experiments are inherently photon starved, by virtue of the photon rejection implicit to optical sectioning.

The superior sensitivity of the iXon Life detector brings these low light images to life.

Note, often high-end confocal systems are equipped with a second Andor Zyla sCMOS camera to access the highest possible resolution and field of view, provided the sample is sufficiently bright.

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Bioluminescence Microscopy

The advantage of bioluminescence microscopy over fluorescence microscopy relies on the absence of autofluorescent background, and, since no light source is necessary to excite the probe, photobleaching or phototoxic effects are remarkably reduced. However, bioluminescent proteins have relatively weak brightness compared with fluorophores. Ideal detectors should thus have high quantum efficiency and reduced source of noise in order to optimize the detection limit.

iXon Ultra offers the best-in-class solution for ultrasensitive bioluminescence imaging across a range of exposure conditions. Single photon sensitivity, back-illuminated QE and deep TE cooling combine to shorten exposure times, such that high quality faster time-lapse imaging is easily achievable. ‘2-in-1’ choice of EMCCD and CCD modes further enhance application flexibility.

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iXon model options 

Each of the model types listed are available in both 'Ultra' and 'Life' platforms

Models iXon 888 iXon 897
Core attributes Field of view, sensitivity and speed Sensitivity and speed
Sensor format 1024 x 1024 512 x 512
Sensor diagonal 18.8 mm 11.6 mm
QE Options  BV (Life) or BV, EX2, UVB (Ultra) BV (Life) or BV, EX2, UVB (Ultra)
Pixel Size 13 µm  16 µm
Frame Rate 26 fps (670 fps with 128 x 128 Crop Mode)  56 fps (595 fps with 128 x 128 Crop Mode)
Read Noise < 1 e- with EM Gain  < 1 e- with EM Gain
Pixel well depth 80,000 e- 180,000 e-
Interface USB 3.0 USB 2.0
Learn more  Ultra Spec Sheet Life Spec Sheet Ultra Spec Sheet Life Spec Sheet
Contact Us  Get Ultra Quote Get Life Quote Get Ultra Quote Get Life Quote

NEW SRRF-Stream+ Unlock Super-Resolution from your Microscope

SRRF-Stream+ is our enhanced real time super-resolution microscopy functionality that operates on Andor’s iXon Life and iXon Ultra EMCCD cameras.

Aligned with Andor’s vision that super-resolution should be easily accessible to all, ‘SRRF-Stream+ enabled’ cameras unlock the means to perform real time super resolution microscopy on conventional modern fluorescence microscopes. Resolution improvement from 2- to 6-fold (50-150nm final resolution) can be expected dependant on the original dataset.

iXon Ultra 

Driving the absolute best from EMCCD technology 

For when only the best will do. The market leading EMCCD camera, Andor’s iXon Ultra has been long recognised as the highest performance, most versatile solution for the most demanding of light starved applications. Available for both physical and life science applications, iXon Ultra delivers unbeatable flexibility and functionality, offering market leading TE cooling, ‘2-in-1’ EMCCD and CCD readout modes and a host of other high-end functionality.

New iXon Life

High performance at a low price! 

Andor’s latest iXon Life EMCCD platform is available exclusively for fluorescence microscopy applications and is engineered to deliver single photon sensitivity with absolutely unparalleled price/performance. With unmatched sensitivity, iXon Life is perfect for single molecule detection and live cell microscopy with minimized phototoxicity or photobleaching, but at a price not normally associated with high-performance EMCCD cameras.

iXon Ultra iXon Life 
Conventional CCD Amplifier Yes-
Integrated ShutterYes -
Minimum TE Cooling Temperature-100 °C-80 °C
Direct Data Access (CameraLink) Yes
EMCCD Mode Readout speeds (MHz)888 model - 30, 20, 10 & 1897 model - 17, 10, 5 & 1888 model - 30 & 10897 model - 17 & 10
Single Photon Counting ModesYes-
SRRF-Stream+ CompatibleYesYes

Benefit from the best

The Electron Multiplying CCD (EMCCD) operates by amplification (EM Gain) of weak signal events to a signal level that is well clear of the read noise floor of the camera at any readout speed, rendering them single photon sensitive.

While recent innovations in high QE, low noise sCMOS technology are certainly welcomed for broad scientific usage, through exploiting “EM gain”, EMCCD cameras offer a raw sensitivity beyond that of the latest back-illuminated sCMOS cameras. EMCCD cameras should be used for the most-light starved conditions, and unlock clear application benefits.

Andor’s market leading iXon design ensures the absolute highest sensitivity from a quantitative scientific digital camera, particularly under fast frame rate conditions.

Andor’s proven UltraVac™ vacuum technology, carrying a 7 year warranty, is critical to ensure both deep cooling and complete protection of the sensor. The iXon series is designed to be the most flexible yet easy to use EMCCD camera on the market, optimizable for a wide variety of application requirements in a single click via the OptAcquire™ feature. Furthermore, signal can be quantitatively calibrated in units of electrons or photons, either real time or post-processing.


Single Molecule Detection – single molecule experiments present us with the considerable challenge of harnessing the limited photon budget from dynamic, individual fluorescent molecules, while also avoiding photobleaching. Andor iXon EMCCDs have continued to radically out-perform sCMOS detectors in this most demanding of light starved application areas.

Super-Resolution – SRRF-Stream+ is the latest version of our real time super-resolution microscopy functionality that operates on compatible Andor cameras. ‘SRRF-Stream+ unlocks the means to perform real time super resolution microscopy on conventional modern fluorescence microscopes. Resolution improvement from 2- to 6-fold (50-150nm final resolution) can be expected dependent on image datasets. The latest version has been revised to provide even better image quality, while carrying all the original benefits of SRRF-Stream.

Reduced phototoxicity – iXon facilitates use of lowest possible excitation power while maintaining superb signal to noise ratio, minimizing phototoxic effects. No other camera is this good at preserving your cell’s physiological behaviour over extended periods of measurement.

Lowest fluorophore concentrations – There is an ongoing drive in fluorescence microscopy to push to lower and lower fluorophore concentrations in order not to perturb the physiology of the living cells being studied. iXon’s superior sensitivity facilitates use of unprecedentedly low label concentrations, thus minimizing the ‘observer effect’.

Single Photon Counting – iXon Ultra presents the absolute lowest noise levels possible, providing the level of discrimination needed to confidently detect and register single photon events, ideal for demanding quantum physics applications such as entangled photon studies.