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Scientific Cameras: OEM and Manufacturing Capabilities

Scientific Cameras: OEM and Manufacturing Capabilities

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Standard, Customized, or OEM Cameras and Software for Your Application (Click Images for Details)
Intracellular Dynamics Brightfield Microscopy Opthalmology Fluorescence Microscopy Multispectral imaging Neuroscience SEM
Intracellular Dynamics Brightfield Microscopy Ophthalmology (NIR) Fluorescence Microscopy Multispectral Imaging Neuroscience SEM/TEM
Thorlabs' Scientific Camera Recommended for Above Application
1.4 Megapixel
Fast Frame Rate
4 Megapixel
8 Megapixel
1.4 Megapixel 4 Megapixel
1.4 Megapixel
4 Megapixel
1.4 Megapixel
1.4 Megapixel 1.4 Megapixel
4 Megapixel
Fast Frame Rate

The scientists and engineers at Thorlabs' Scientific Imaging (TSI) Group in Austin, Texas work in a multidisciplinary environment that brings multiple skillsets together to develop challenging circuit designs, innovative optical and mechanical solutions, firmware, and host side software in a camera platform that can be used with a variety of imagers. This unique skillset gives us the ability to customize low-noise, high-performance scientific cameras and interface devices that fit your needs.

A variety of standard camera offerings and the ability to efficiently customize cameras to almost any need is ideal for any OEM or system designer. In addition, all cameras can be designed into low-light and/or high speed imaging systems and customized to meet stringent size, environmental, and packaging requirements. A full-featured and well-documented API, included with our cameras, makes it convenient to develop fully customized applications in an efficient manner, while also providing the ability to migrate through our product line without having to rewrite an application. Our standard 1.4 megapixel, 4 megapixel, 8 megapixel, and fast frame rate cameras have been deployed in numerous applications as shown in the photos above and the list below.


  • High-Content and High-Throughput Screening
  • Electron Microscopy (TEM/SEM)
  • NIR Imaging
  • Multispectral Imaging
  • Fluorescence Microscopy
  • In Vivo and In Vitro Imaging
  • NIR/DIC Patch Clamping
  • Ophthalmic Imaging
Scientific Camera
Thorlabs' Expertise
Skillsets Developed Over 20 Years
Scientific Camera
Custom/OEM Cameras
Create a Unique Solution
Scientific Camera
Standard Cameras
Growing Portfolio of Cameras Developed by Thorlabs


  • Versions Available:
    • Cameras with Monochrome or Color 1.4, 4, or 8 Megapixel Sensors
    • 200.7 fps Fast Frame Rate Cameras with Monochrome Sensors
  • High QE Scientific Grade CCD Cameras
  • Software-Selectable 20 MHz or 40 MHz Readout
  • Low Read Noise at 20 MHz Readout
  • Region-of-Interest (ROI) and Binning Modes
  • 32- and 64-Bit Windows® 7, 8.1, or 10 Support
  • Asynchronous, Triggered, and Bulb Exposure Modes 
  • Support for MATLAB, ImageJ, µManager, LabVIEW, and MetaMorph
  • All Models Supported by Full-Featured API / SDK
  • Standard and Hermetically Sealed Fanless (Vibration-Free) TE-Cooled Camera Body Options

Our current offering of monochrome or color scientific CCD cameras are based on high quantum efficiency, low noise CCD imagers, which make them ideal for multispectral imaging, fluorescence microscopy, and other high-performance imaging techniques. Both non-cooled and cooled versions are available; see below for more details on the camera packages offered.

Standard Scientific CCD Cameras

Scientific Camera
Camera Type 8 Megapixel 4 Megapixel 1.4 Megapixel Fast Frame Rate
Item # Prefix Monochrome: 8051M
Color: 8051C
Monochrome: 4070M
Color: 4070C
Monochrome: 1501M
Color: 1501C
340M 340UV
CCD Sensor Monochrome: ON Semi KAI-08051M
Color: ON Semi KAI-08051-FBA
Monochrome: ON Semi
Color: ON Semi KAI-04070-FBA
Monochrome: Sony ICX285AL
Color: Sony ICX285AQ
On Semi / Truesense KAI-0340M Monochrome CCD
Resolution 3296 x 2472 2048 x 2048 1392 x 1040 640 x 480
Optical Format 4/3" Format (22 mm Diagonal) 4/3" Format (21.4 mm Diagonal) 2/3" Format (11 mm Diagonal) 1/3" Format (5.92 mm Diagonal)
Pixel Size 5.5 µm x 5.5 µm 7.4 µm x 7.4 µm 6.45 µm x 6.45 µm 7.4 µm x 7.4 µm
Peak Quantum Efficiency
(Click for Plot)
Monochrome: 51% (at 460 nm)
Color: Click for Plot
Monochrome: 52% (at 500 nm)
Color: Click for Plot
Monochrome: 60% (at 500 nm)
Color: Click for Plot
55% (at 500 nm) 10% (at 485 nm)
Read Noise <10 e- at 20 MHz <12 e- at 20 MHz <7 e- at 20 MHz (Standard Models)
<6 e- at 20 MHz (-TE Models)
<15 e- at 20 MHz
Digital Output USB 3.0 and Camera Link: 14 Bit
Gigabit Ethernet: 14 Bit (Single Tap) / 12 Bit (Dual Tap)
14 Bit USB 3.0 and Camera Link: 14 Bit
Gigabit Ethernet: 14 Bit (Single Tap) / 12 Bit (Dual Tap)
Max Frame Rate
(Full Sensor)
17.1 fps 25.8 fps 23 fps 200.7 fps
Available Cooling (Fan Free) -10 °C at 20 °C Ambient Temperature -20 °C at 20 °C Ambient Temperature None
PC Interface Gigabit Ethernet / Camera Link
Typical Applications Large FOV Slide Imaging
Multispectral Imaging
Immunohistochemistry (IHC)
Fluorescence Microscopy
Transmitted Light Micrsoscopy
Whole-Slide Microscopy
Electron Microscopy (TEM/SEM)
Material Sciences
Fluorescence Microscopy
VIS/NIR Imaging
Quantum Dots
Multispectral Imaging
Immunohistochemistry (IHC)
Retinal Imaging
Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH)
Ca++ Ion Imaging
Particle Tracking
Flow Cytometry
UV Inspection

Scientific Camera Applications

Select a Topic

Multispectral Imaging

The video to the right is an example of a multispectral image acquisition using a liquid crystal tunable filter (LCTF) in front of a monochrome camera. With a sample slide exposed to broadband light, the LCTF passes narrow bands of light that are transmitted from the sample. The monochromatic images are captured using a monochrome scientific camera, resulting in a datacube – a stack of spectrally separated two-dimensional images which can be used for quantitative analysis, such as finding ratios or thresholds and spectral unmixing.

In the example shown, a mature capsella bursa-pastoris embryo, also known as Shepherd's-Purse, is rapidly scanned across the 420 nm - 730 nm wavelength range using Thorlabs' KURIOS-WB1 Liquid Crystal Tunable Filter. The images are captured using our 1501M-GE Scientific Camera, which is connected, with the liquid crystal filter, to a Cerna Series Microscope. The overall system magnification is 10X. The final stacked/recovered image is shown below.

Multispectral imaging
Click to Enlarge

Final Stacked/Recovered Image


Thrombosis Studies

Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot within a blood vessel that will impede the flow of blood in the circulatory system. The videos below are from experimental studies on the large-vessel thrombosis in Mice performed by Dr. Brian Cooley at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Three lasers (532 nm, 594 nm, and 650 nm) were expanded and then focused on a microsurgical field of an exposed surgical site in an anesthenized mouse. A custom 1.4 Megapixel Camera with integrated filter wheel were attached to a Leica Microscope to capture the low-light fluorescence emitted from the surgical site. See the videos below with their associated descriptions for further infromation.

Arterial Thrombosis

In the video above, a gentle 30-second electrolytic injury is generated on the surface of a carotid artery in an atherogenic mouse (ApoE-null on a high-fat, “Western” diet), using a 100-micron-diameter iron wire (creating a free-radical injury). The site (arrowhead) and the vessel are imaged by time-lapse fluorescence-capture, low-light camera over 60 minutes (timer is shown in upper left corner – hours:minutes:seconds). Platelets were labeled with a green fluorophore (rhodamine 6G) and anti-fibrin antibodies with a red fluorophore (Alexa-647) and injected prior to electrolytic injury to identify the development of platelets and fibrin in the developing thrombus. Flow is from left to right; the artery is approximately 500 microns in diameter (bar at lower right, 350 microns).

Venous Thrombosis

In the video above, a gentle 30-second electrolytic injury is generated on the surface of a murine femoral vein, using a 100-micron-diameter iron wire (creating a free-radical injury). The site (arrowhead) and the vessel are imaged by time-lapse fluorescence-capture, low-light camera over 60 minutes (timer is shown in upper left corner – hours:minutes:seconds). Platelets were labeled with a green fluorophore (rhodamine 6G) and anti-fibrin antibodies with a red fluorophore (Alexa-647) and injected prior to electrolytic injury to identify the development of platelets and fibrin in the developing thrombus. Flow is from left to right; the vein is approximately 500 microns in diameter (bar at lower right, 350 microns).

Reference: Cooley BC. In vivo fluorescence imaging of large-vessel thrombosis in mice. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 31, 1351-1356, 2011. All animal studies were done under protocols approved by the Medical College of Wisconsin Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Contact TSI
Jason Mills
Jason Mills
General Manager,
Thorlabs Scientific Imaging

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OEM or Custom Cameras for Your Application

Thorlabs Scientific Imaging makes it easy to get the camera that you need for a specific application. Along with the large selection of standard scientific cameras, we also offer customized and OEM products. This includes high-performance cameras, board-level cameras, custom camera housings, or software. If you have special requirements, a custom application, or general questions about our capabilities, please contact us; we will work with you to get the product you need for your application.

Customizing a scientific camera can be done from scratch or by using one of our existing standard cameras as a starting point. TSI simplifies this process by using the two-step process below. Small changes made to our existing stock, such as private labeling, timing circuitry within the electronics, or mechanical changes, can be quickly and easily done using these steps. When designing a custom camera from scratch, we will help walk you through everything detailed below. The process is simplified to help you match the camera to the specific needs of your application. We also offer Kanban options for OEM customers.


Scientific Camera
QE Curve Overlayed with Common Fluorophore Emissions

Step 1: Analyze your Custom or OEM Requirements

  • Photonics Involved:
    • Sensitivity
    • Wavelength
    • Resolution
    • Speed
  • System Requirements:
    • Operating Environment
    • Space Constraints
    • Interfaces
    • Software
  • Application Space:
    • Compliance Issues
    • Future Developments
    • Logistics
Scientific Camera
Scientific Camera
Click to Enlarge

Custom Housing
Scientific Camera
Click to Enlarge

Custom Circuit Board

Step 2: Work with TSI to Configure a Solution

Click to Enlarge

API/SDK for Software Developers
  • Imager Options:
    • UV, Visible, or NIR Spectrum
    • 1.4 Megapixel, 4 Megapixel, 8 Megapixel, or Fast Frame Rate CCD
    • CMOS and CCD are Also Available
  • I/O Options:
    • USB 3.0
    • Camera Link
    • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Camera Body Options:
    • Standard Non-Cooled
    • Hermetically Sealed with Two-Stage TEC
    • Private Labeling
    • Electronics Modifications
    • Optics Mounting Options (C-Mount Threading is Standard)
  • Software:
    • Initial Evaluation Using ThorCam™ GUI for Cameras: Region-of-Interest (ROI) and Binning Modes, Supports 32- and 64-Bit Windows® 7
    • Algorithm Development Using Popular Third-Party Support Such as MATLAB, and µManager/ImageJ
    • API / SDK Provided for Software Developers who Wish to Take Their Own Programs to Market
  • Supply Chain:
    • Kanban Stocking Agreements

OEM Brochure

Our Expertise in the Photonics and Imaging Industry

Thorlabs is a leading photonics company that develops and manufactures a broad portfolio of technologies ranging from optical components to advanced imaging systems. We develop and manuafacture most of our components at our extensive high-tech fabrication facilities. The facilities include manufacturing capabilities for motion control products, optoelectronics, semiconductors, optical fiber, optomechanics, optics, and optical coatings. Components that directly support our scientific camera line are filters and filter wheels, objective and scan lenses, zoom lenses, telecentric lenses, mounting adapters, LEDs, microscopy components and stages, and rigid cage systems.


  • Extensive Knowledge of Photonics Technology
  • Unique Skillset to Design and Manufacture Low-Noise, High-Performance Scientific Cameras, Interfaces, and Software
  • Vertically Integrated Manufacturing Facilities
  • Variety of Existing Products from Across Different Fields
  • Close Contact with Research Labs Around the World

Experienced Team

  • Interdisciplinary Teams Comprised of Scientists, Engineers, and Technicians
  • Extensive Portfolio of Products Developed and Manufactured by Thorlabs Ranging From Mechanical Components to Imaging Systems
  • Many Optical Systems Successfuly Designed, Manufactured, and Deployed into the Field
TSI Logo

A Message from TSI's General Manager

As a researcher and system designer, you are accustomed to solving difficult problems but may be frustrated by the inadequacy of the available instrumentation and tools. The product development team at Thorlabs Scientific Imaging is continually looking for new challenges to push the boundaries of Scientific Cameras using various sensor technologies. We welcome your input in order to leverage our team of senior research and development engineers to help meet your advanced imaging needs.

Thorlabs' purpose is to support advances in research and development through our product offerings. Your input will help us steer the direction of our scientific camera product line to support these advances. If you have a challenging application that requires a more advanced scientific camera than is currently available, I would be excited to hear from you.

We're All Ears!

Jason Mills
Jason Mills
General Manager
Thorlabs Scientific Imaging

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