Cultured Cortical Neurons (original raw data)
Taken with THUNDER Imager 3D Cell Culture

Cultured Cortical Neurons. Green, beta-III-tubulin; blue, Nuclei.
Image stack of 59 planes for a volume of 21 µm, was acquired using a THUNDER Imager Live Cell. Raw image compared to one image acquired using THUNDER Large Volume Computational Clearing. Sample Courtesy: FAN GmbH, Magdeburg (Germany).

High throughput for better statistics and workflow efficiency

Automate your 3D cell culture assays to study next-generation disease models efficiently. THUNDER enables you to image large sample volumes, such as lung organoids, at high speed. In addition, the automation minimizes user interaction even for complex experiments.

The outcome is:

  • precise and reliable data in less time
  • higher throughput
  • better statistics and results

Find the THUNDER Imager that’s right for you

Whether you are looking for a dedicated high-end imaging system that excels in a given application, or a versatile solution for a lab running different kinds of assays with various samples, we’ve got you covered.

Here are some selected application examples that show you the strengths of THUNDER:

Reliable quantification of an entire mouse retina with THUNDER

Quantitative approaches to retina imaging analysis often emphasizes to provide comprehensive descriptions of the retina morphology and function. Retina abnormalities as well as translational clinical applications need a reliable workflow to reproduce the transgenic target screening. Therefore, repetitive imaging of the morphology requires a system solution with accurate results which can be constantly reproduced. With the THUNDER Imager 3D Assay you are able to clearly visualize the morphology and reliable count intracellular details, like single cell nuclei distribution in the retina.

With a THUNDER Imager 3D Assay you have these advantages

  • Immediate blur removal that help you visualize more intracellular details
  • More utilizable depth with widefield approach
  • Reliable quantification
  • Ready-to-use for your particular workflow analysis

Configuration THUNDER Imager 3D Assay

Control Swiss adult female mouse wholemount retina showing Iba1+ microglial cells (Alexa Fluor® 488 green-fluorochrome) and Brn3a+ retinal ganglion cells (Alexa Fluor® 594 red-fluorochrome). Image courtesy of Experimental Ophtalmology group, University of Murcia (Spain).

Visualization of brain organoids with a THUNDER Imager Live Cell

Brain organoids as novel model systems are used to investigate human brain development and disorders. These self-assembled 3-dimensional cytoarchitectures are often characterized via multiple transgenic marker imaging. Classical challenges in these workflows are quantifying dynamics of molecules in time besides keeping physiological conditions and reaching sample depth at low signal levels. Therefore, the THUNDER Imager Live Cell is suitable to study the development of organoids close to physiological conditions, as our LED light sources help to minimize photobleaching. Furthermore, the timed detection of even though low protein signal levels is possible without the need to change the carrier.

With a THUNDER Imager Live Cell you have these advantages

  • Possibility to observe your specimens in plastic bottom dishes makes your workflow more efficient
  • Capacity to detect low signals of molecules with high QE camera
  • Low bleaching and low sample perturbance with widefield approach and precise timed LED illumination

Configuration THUNDER Imager Live Cell

Nucleus (DAPI), p-vimentin (AF488), DCX (AF568), PAX6 (AF647). Uncleared human brain organoid (4 colors); Image courtesy by Atria Kavyanifar, M.Sc. (supervised by Prof. Dr. Lie, Prof. Dr. Winner) University Clinic Erlangen, Germany).

Low-phototoxicity in long-term live cell time-lapse imaging

Explant cell cultures are oftentimes difficult to conduct imaging experiments with, as they require a stable cell culture environment and low-phototoxic imaging conditions. This example of explant cell culture imaging from Dr. Laura Shankman at the University of Virginia shows how abdominal aorta cells were able to be stably imaged over a 48 hour period. The THUNDER Imager Live Cell provides a complete microscopy imaging system for minimally invasive and precise live cell imaging experimentation. Sensitive cell culture experiments can be efficiently conducted thanks to fast and High-Quantum-Efficiency camera options, accurate stages, tunable LED light sources, Computational Clearing to reduce out-of-focus blur in widefield images, and an easy to use LAS X software to automate imaging and analysis workflows.

Advantages of the THUNDER Imager Live Cell

  • Accurate live cell imaging experimentation allows tracking of fast cell movements
  • Low phototoxicity keep sensitive cell culture alive, even in long-term experiments
  • Speed-up your live-cell imaging workflow up to automated quantification and analysis

Configuration THUNDER Imager Live Cell

One week cultured explants of abdominal aorta imaged for 48 hours on gelatin coated #1.5 coverglass chamber slides. The mouse was genetically encoded with a smooth muscle cell specific tdtomato. After a transcription event, the smooth muscle cells excise the tdtomato and begin to express eGFP.

Optimal physiological conditions - minimum light exposure

For 3D cell culture, observing the true physiology is paramount for meaningful results. Typically, you want to investigate your cells while they are in a close to natural state by optimizing experimental conditions, e.g., the lowest light intensity and shortest exposure times possible.

THUNDER Imager Live Cell meets these demands with a high-end LED source that has a small bandwidth optimized for excitation. Even with low illumination and short exposure times, the sensitive high-end sCMOS camera delivers meaningful image information thanks to a quantum efficiency of up to 82%.

To further reduce exposure of the sample to light, illumination is limited to the actual recording time. The camera shutter is synchronized with the high-speed (20 µs switching time) Lumencor LED light source to minimize photobleaching.

THUNDER Imager Live Cell is based on a fully motorized DMi8 microscope, Quantum Stage, highly sensitive K8 camera, and multi-line, high-intensity fluorescence LED light source. It is optimized for fast and precise multi-position, multi-channel imaging of 3D cell cultures.

Mouse lung organoids derived from alveola stem and progenitor cells. Sample courtesy Dr. Pumaree Kanrai, MPI for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim (Germany).

Image at the speed of life – Cellular processes

Life is fast, especially for a cell. Most modern live cell imaging experiments demand high-speed systems.

THUNDER Imager Live Cell provides you with the power of highly sensitive sCMOS camera-based fluorescence systems working with full frames in one shot.

In combination with high sensitivity, THUNDER Imager Live Cell allows you to capture data at up to 90 frames per second, helping you to observe fast cellular events. It captures blur-free image data quickly even deep inside a thick 3D cell cluster. You can stay on top of fast processes even during multiple emission wavelength experiments thanks to fast-switching external filter wheels (< 27 ms).

Keep the right environment while observing your live cell cultures

THUNDER Imager Live Cell has all you need to maintain your cells at a close to natural state. The incubator ensures optimal physiological conditions for living cell cultures, such as system stability, humidity, temperature, and carbon dioxide level (pH value).

Thanks to the water immersion microdispenser, you can use a water-immersion objective for multiwell workflows even when you are doing long-term experiments. Water immersion objectives enable higher light collection leading to acquisition of cell images with higher contrast and resolution.

Cultured VERO cells stained with STAR488 Vimentin (green), STAR580 Tom20 (yellow), and DAPI (blue). Sample courtesy Abberior GmbH, Göttingen (Germany).

Master time-lapse multi-position experiments: tracking cell changes

THUNDER Imager Live Cell offer both speed and reliability for your 3D cell culture multiwell experiments. For example, when tracking the growth and development of spheroids and organoids, its speed and reliability allows you to obtain excellent results.

Accurate time-lapse multi-position experiments and tracking of cell changes are achieved with this THUNDER Imager due to:

  • Reliable drift correction with the Adaptive Focus Control (AFC)
  • Software autofocus that compensates for changes in specimen position
  • Reproducible Z-positioning with a precision of up to 20 nm (closed-loop focus)

Get more data points in less time with the new Quantum Stage. It moves rapidly and accurately (e.g. 10 positions per second) to all positions with an excellent repeatability (< ±0.25 µm), as there is no jiggling.

Routine, reliable data acquisition

THUNDER Imager Live Cell enable reliable image data acquisition with accurate focus maintained on the live cells at all times.

Live cell imaging is often tricky, because of drift, morphology change, or growth of the cells. Drift is caused by vibrations, mechanical creep, or temperature fluctuations. Both drift and cell changes can reduce the reliability of the acquired image data, as focus becomes an issue. Thanks to the Adaptive Focus Control (AFC), closed-loop focus, and software autofocus, THUNDER Imager Live Cell reliably maintains focus for your multi well experiments. 

Developing zebrafish pancreas - Widefield image
After Computational Clearing - THUNDER Imager 3D Assay

Images courtesy of Radhan Ramadass and Yu Hsuan at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim (Germany)

Developing Zebrafish Pancreas

The THUNDER Imager 3D Assay enabled clear identification of Alpha (GFP-green) and Beta (mCardinal-red) cells within a developing zebrafish pancreas.

Imaged in the blue (Hoechst), green (GFP), and red (mCardinal) channels, this 150-image z-stack was completed with all channels within a minute.

Physiological conditions can be maintained within a sample by minimizing photobleaching, providing high-performance imaging, and high-throughput of data, leading to better workflow efficiency.

Image and manipulate your cell culture experiment

Combine THUNDER’s non-invasive imaging with photomanipulation, FRAP, FRET, or ablative techniques when using the Infinity Scanner. Manipulate the cells you study, or their extracellular environment, with the Infinity Scanner’s flexible vector laser-scanning system.

The two videos here show MDCK cells expressing mx1-GFP before, and after THUNDER Instant Computational Clearing. By using THUNDER, the mx1 protein expression became much more identifiable, and could be ablated with the Infinity Scanner.

Combine the THUNDER Imager Live Cell with the Infinity Scanner to image and manipulate your cell culture experiments.

More information on the Infinity Scanner

Images courtesy of Dr. Ralf Jacob, University of Marburg, Germany

Images courtesy of Dr. Catherine Boyle, University of Virginia, USA

Clarity and speed for sensitive sample imaging

Combine THUNDER’s out-of-focus blur removal with the advantages of TIRF. For dynamic processes at the cell surface, Total Internal Fluorescence Microscopy provides outstanding signal-to-background separation.

The two videos here show ins-1 cells expressing human pro-insulin with GFP-GRINCH. As KCL is added to the cell culture, the insulin-producing cells depolarize, and insulin residues can be seen fusing to the plasma membrane.

With the THUNDER Imager Live Cell combined with TIRF, image your sensitive samples with outstanding clarity, speed, and imaging parameter control.

More information on the Infinity TIRF

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