Belfast, Northern Ireland, September 16, 2003. Around 50 research scientists from 11 countries gathered recently for the first symposium to focus on the application and development of Electron Multiplying Charge Coupled Device (EMCCD) technology. The technology - which allows scientists to observe single molecules, living cells, and faint distant stars in real time, with much greater clarity than conventional equipment - promises to have a major impact across a wide range of disciplines including live cell microscopy, drug discovery, neurosurgery, atomic computing and structural engineering.
Hosted by Queen's University, Belfast, the symposium also showcased the first camera to incorporate the new imaging technology. Known as iXon - the device has been developed by event sponsors, Andor Technology.
Among those attending the symposium was one of the world's foremost authorities on microscopy - Professor James B Pawley of the University of Wisconsin's Department of Zoology - who believes that EMCCD technology represents a major step forwards. "I think EMCCD is a significant breakthrough simply because you can't do any better. Silicon is clearly the best detector for the wavelengths involved. The quantum efficiency is 80 per cent and the noise level is now one electron. Nobody can imagine improving on that. "For this reason, there is no doubt in my mind that the iXON is a fundamentally new kind of camera with very exciting potential," says Professor Pawley.
Other organizations represented at the event included the Institut Pasteur - a world leading non-profit private foundation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases through scientific and medical research, education and public health activities.
Spencer L Shorte, head of the Paris-based foundation's Dynamic Imaging Centre, believes EMCCD technology will play a major role in the evolving field of life science imaging. "Some of our applications demand high-speed with very high signal to noise ratio. With these criteria, the combination of back thinned and EMCCD offers at least three times the performance - if not much more - than standard ICCD/CCD cameras.
"The iXon has breathtaking performance, and immediately changes everything that until now we have come to accept as the limitations of CCD technology. The market has been waiting for this sort of camera to come along, and it is going to change the benchmark for life science imaging," he adds.
According to Hugh Cormican, managing director of Andor Technology, although the iXon camera was launched only last year, it is now in routine use in a wide range of applications including genomics, drug discovery, single molecule detection, fluorescence studies and low light microscopy.
"As pioneers of EMCCD technology, we were delighted to sponsor this major event. The very strong turnout at the symposium ensured there was a high level of information sharing across a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines. By allowing people to understand how this technology is being used in other disciplines, we hope that it will generate new ideas and continue to push the boundaries of science. "We're confident it will result in new levels of awareness of what we're doing within the international scientific community and will greatly assist us in pushing this radical technology forward," adds Cormican.
Andor Technology (www.andor-tech.com) is developing and manufacturing instruments for the global spectroscopy and scientific imaging markets. Andor's range of CCD and Intensified CCD camera systems are used across a wide range of fields such as biotechnology, physics and chemistry. They are used throughout the world for academic, industrial and government research; they are used to monitor and control industrial processes and are playing a significant role in Life Sciences.
Established in 1989, Andor's Corporate Headquarters are in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Operating in a global market, Andor's US Headquarters opened in Connecticut in 1997, with regional sales offices in Boston, New Jersey, San Diego and Atlanta. The most recently established office is Andor Japan which opened in Tokyo in August 2000 to handle the company's Asia / Pacific Operations.
For more information, visit www.andor-tech.com .
Laser Focus World