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Radioactivity at its finest: Less Hassle. Less Time. More features. More results.

Why waste film? See more and do more with phosphor imaging.

Radioactivity at its finest: Less Hassle. Less Time. More features. More results.Radioactivity has long been used in life sciences to visualize target molecules in biological systems. Small molecules, such as drug candidates, can be labeled with radioisotopes and delivered into experimental samples. Distribution and metabolized products can then be analyzed through radioactive detection of tissue sections.

The analysis of DNA (Southern blot), RNA (Northern blot), or protein (Western blot) can also be accomplished through a radioactive probe that binds to the experimental samples on a membrane. This is then exposed to film, which creates a permanent image of the band pattern on the blot.

Another detection option for radioactive samples is the use of phosphor imaging storage plates. These plates have been coated with photostimulable phosphor crystals that excite and trap electrons when exposed to high-energy radiation. Those electrons are then released when exposed to visible light, thus emitting photons that are detected and saved into a digital image. The storage plates can detect almost all ionizing radiation rays, such as α, β, and γ, emitted from the radioisotope. The amount of radioactivity is directly proportional to the amount of the labeled sample.

There are several issues with using film for radioactive detection:

  • Time - Film screens require a long exposure time for band detection, often in the range of 24-72 hours.

    • Phosphor imaging technology increases the detector efficiency, thereby reducing the exposure time to 3 hours or less
  • Sensitivity - Film screens are typically on the lower end of detection sensitivity, with the type of developer being a critical component to the overall success of the detection.

    • Phosphor imaging is 10-250 times more sensitive, dependent upon the isotope that is being used. This is due to the higher density of excitable particles on the plates, which is not possible to achieve with film.
  • Dynamic Range - The dynamic range of film is narrow (2 orders of magnitude), often resulting in detection that is over-exposed (unusable) due to maximum exposure limits of the film.

    • Phosphor imaging allows for a broader dynamic range (5 orders of magnitude), which allows for a proportional signal between sample and signal across a larger angle of detection.
  • Logistics - In addition to the autoradiography film, this technique requires the use of development chemicals and a darkroom.

    • Phosphor imaging eliminates the use of a darkroom, and can be used on a variety of media including gels, membranes, microarray plates, and tissue slices.
  • Reusable - Film creates a permanent record, thus requiring additional film

    • Phosphor imaging allows for reusable detection plates that can be erased.

The ability to distinguish subtle differences in expression among low amounts of biomolecules in a quarter of the time, while still maintaining high sensitivity and accuracy, is critical. The Amersham Typhoon Biomolecular Imager provides these options by supporting phosphor imaging for samples containing isotopes, such as 3H, 14C, 32P, 33P, and 35S among others. The Typhoon produces digital images with a limit of detection as low as 0.00518 µCi/g and a dynamic range greater than 5 orders of magnitude.

The phosphor imaging component can also be bundled with additional visualization options on the Amersham Typhoon, including red/green/blue (RGB) fluorescence, near infrared (NIR) fluorescence, dark scan chemiluminescence, and densitometry.

Finally, additional phosphor imaging accessories are available, including the phosphor storage screens and the Amersham Eraser, which allows for easy removal of images for screen reuse.

Get started with the Amersham Typhoon »