New laser diode gel illuminator

Biotium, a leading supplier and inventor of fluorescent tools for life science research, announces the release of the next-generation Gel-Bright laser diode gel illuminator. In partnership with Biotium, light and optics instrumentation company OMEC Medical developed the gel illuminator to offer a better alternative to UV and LED-based gel imaging. The new product features a novel laser diode-based illumination technology that offers exceptional performance for a wide selection of fluorescent dyes and does not require laser safety glasses. The gel illuminator delivers improved sensitivity for red dyes over blue LED illuminators, as well as improved performance for imaging green dyes over UV transilluminators. 

Gel illuminators have traditionally relied on UV illumination for visualisation of fluorescently labeled nucleic acids and proteins. However, UV-based illumination can damage a user’s skin and eyes, as well as their DNA samples. LED-based illuminators were developed as a safer alternative to UV. However, LED illuminators often have high background and dim signal due to excessive ambient light and poor excitation efficiency. Specifically, widely used blue LED gel illuminators are poorly optimized for excitation of red DNA dyes such as GelRed and ethidium bromide (EtBr). 

In close partnership with Biotium scientists, OMEC Medical developed the new Gel-Bright to offer sensitive gel imaging for both green and red dyes without relying on hazardous UV light. The incorporation of laser diodes enables stronger and more focused illumination, allowing brighter and more efficient excitation for a wide range of fluorescent dyes. As a result, the system offers better sensitivity over UV-based transilluminators when imaging green dyes such as GelGreen or SYBR Green/SYBR Safe, as well as significantly better performance over blue LED gel illuminators for red dyes such as GelRed, ethidium bromide (EtBr), and One-Step Lumitein protein gel stain.

The new illuminator contains 12 laser diodes that are positioned at an optimal angle for consistent and uniform illumination of the gel. Safety glasses are not required because the amount of laser light that could enter the eye’s pupil is below the CDRH limits. In addition, an adjustable multi-hinged amber filter provides optimal signal-to-noise and can be moved into a lower position for gel imaging, or a higher position for easy access when excising bands. With convenience in mind, the gel illuminator also has a compact and portable design for easy transport and minimizing occupied space on benchtops.

Recent Issues