“We purchased the Sapphire Biomolecular imager to replace an aging, first generation Licor Odyssey scanner. Six months in and the Sapphire has proven to be a workhorse in the lab. With easy to use software, high resolution and the ability to scan 4 channels (2 IR 2 fluorescent) simultaneously , the Sapphire has given us the capacity to probe for multiple proteins at once without crosstalk between channels, thus eliminating the need to run and probe multiple gels. Equipped with a separate CCD camera, the Sapphire is capable of imaging both chemiluminescence Western blots and phosphoimaging screens, providing us a choice of detection methods. Our primary application is Western blotting, however the versatility of the machine has allowed us to do 96 well ELISA studies as well.
Analysis of blots or plates is very straight forward using the AzureSpot software.
Azure customer service has been excellent. Email enquiries are answered promptly and the service staff have gone above and beyond to help rectify the few minor issues we’ve had.
If you are in the market for an IR scanner, I would highly recommend considering the Sapphire for your lab.”
Blots courtesy Dr. Pradeep Kota
University of North Carolina
“Azure C200 has great performance in order to visualize your gel. The system has built in L.E.D. lights and separated U.V. light to get the perfect image. The system also has a built in L.C.D. tablet and the software where you can retrieve your gel data. Also the system can be connected to the separate PC for the software analysis. The system gives you quick visualization of gel and reading in less than 5 seconds. you can adjust the light in order to get a perfect view. With the experience of more than 2 years on Azure C200, I strongly recommend this unit for diagnostic and research purpose.”
Molecular Section Head,
Dow Diagnostics FZ LLC, Dubai, UAE
“I have used other Western blot imaging systems but they were too slow and complicated. The Azure c600 makes it easy to see my data quickly.
I use Femto grade ECL for hard-to-detect targets like low abundance proteins or targets with weakly binding antibodies. This used to give me problems with X-ray films that were full of dark spots or sometimes even turning completely dark. That never happens any more. The Azure c600 gives me very clean and nice looking results.
The system is fast and easy to use. I load the membrane on the tray and choose my imaging method with the touch of a button. I specially like how it records multiple cumulative images, so I never need to re-expose the membrane.”
Scientist, Discovery Biology
“Before purchasing the Azure c600 we imaged our blots on a Typhoon 9410 fluorescence scanner from GE Healthcare.
We evaluated both the Odyssey CLx from Li-Cor and the Azure Biosystems c600. The Li-Cor and the Azure systems yielded similar results with both having identical limits of IR-based detection. On the other hand, the Azure c600 was more flexible (chemi, visible and infrared capabilities), and therefore had more to offer.
Three features that I appreciate about the c600 are i) the user-friendly graphical interface, ii) the quick and adjustable acquisition times and iii) the custom acquisition mode which allows one to detect information from multiple chemistries and then present the resulting merged image!”
Graduate Student, Chemical Biology
University of Michigan
“We pursued digital imaging because we were looking for a way to save time by skipping the dark room and having to scan film. We considered two other imagers that are on the market. We chose the Azure c300 system for the best cost, great-looking images while using the demo, large work area to accommodate larger western blots, and most importantly, ease of use. One person in the lab was resistant to switching to digital imaging at first, but has since come around because of the convenience, ease of use, and images that are equal to or better than film. None of us have had to use the dark room in over a year.
Considering how much we initially liked the machine, I was a little nervous about going with a product and company that were so new to the market. The sales and technical support have always been great and we are very satisfied.”
Senior Research Technologist
Academic research institution
“We purchased the Azure imaging system to replace our previous digital imager (a Fluorchem Q) when it broke beyond repair. We chose the Azure system for several reasons. First, the machine itself was simple to use and had a small footprint, which is very important for our cramped bench space. Second, we were able to demo the machine. You cannot appreciate how easy-to-use a piece of equipment is until you have it in your hands without the field rep there to guide you. Third, Azure will send field reps to service the instrument. We chose Azure over Protein Simple because Protein Simple would not do this. Quality customer service is important for us because our lab is small and we are all very busy and unable to spend hours troubleshooting.
The Azure instrument has been great. We are currently using it for chemiluminescence and UV imaging. It is easy to use for these applications and we have obtained high-quality images. The cumulative capture feature for chemiluminescence in particular is a very useful feature for my work.”
“We purchased the Sapphire imager to replace our obsolete typhoon scanner and could not be happier with the performance and ease of use. Equipped with multiple lasers, it is possible to probe for many proteins at high resolution and with great sensitivity. We primarily use the system for western blotting and fluorescent slide scanning and have had clear, publishable results. The software is easy to use and has many practical features. Customer service is amazing – they are always available, informative, and as scientists, they assist with troubleshooting experimental design and optimizing results. This product is highly recommended for anyone who routinely uses electrophoresis, cell-based, or slide-based analyses with fluorescent or chemiluminescent detection.”
National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging
“Professional regular service and technical support without delay when asked.
Sapphire RGBIR is a powerful and quality laser scanner in our laboratory. Its high-performance laser light sources, high-sensitivity detector and 10μm highest resolution gives us high-quality data; Its multiplex fluorescence channels and CCD-based function makes us can develop several methods to verify and get an accurate result. For us, the most important thing of the large precision instrument besides good quality, performance is service. Azure’s good service is better than most of other manufacturers because of the professional regular service about twice a year and the technical support without delay when asked.”
Huzhou Nutrition and Health Industry Innovation Center, CAS
“Azure c600 is a perfect imager.
Although it is a new brand product, it has high quality and good performance. We love the multi-function of c600, with it everyone in our lab can capture multiplex samples on chemiluminescence, RGB and NIR and so on. The most important thing is the support is excellent, when we have questions, the technical support of Azure will support us timely, patiently and professionally. Especially, their regular after-sales service every 6 months which on using, technology, even on our experiment is one thing I haven’t seen before. Azure’s high-level product and service really make us feel satisfied.”
Shanghai Normal University
“Freedom to capture data for studying proteins and nucleic acids.
Traditionally, western blot detection methods have used X-ray films to capture chemiluminescence. However, the increasing costs for film, reagents, and maintenance made many researchers to shift from darkrooms to more sensitive and technologically advanced digital imaging systems such as Cooled charge coupled devices (CCD) cameras capturing both chemiluminescence and fluorescence images. The two mentioned detection methods allow the ability to simultaneously detect proteins on the same blot minimizing the need for stripping and reprobing leading to an increase in detection efficiency (Mathews, Plaisance et al. 2009).
Here, I will review Azure Biosystems imaging system for chemiluminescent, fluorescent and infrared imaging, and briefly discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
The Azure Biosystems C600 image analyzer.
C600 system is the only imaging system available in the market currently with the following features (i) infrared laser excitation for quantitative imaging in the near IR, (ii) picogram detection of proteins using chemiluminescence, (iii) wide range of dye selection with Cy®5/Cy3/Cy2 excitation, and (iv) option of upgradation from the base units c200, c300, c400 and c500. This increases the options of selecting different chemistry for performing western blots by using the same imaging system. Due to the signal stability and low background, detection in the near-infrared fluorescent (NIR) for western blot detection is achievable using the infrared fluorescent dyes. The NIR western detection also offers multiplexing allowing the option to detect multiple proteins at the same time. Azure Biosystems’ c600 system is equipped with two IR detection channels and allows users to study multiple proteins with overlapping in a blot. The image generated can be spectrally separated as the secondary antibodies are imaged in two different channel.
We have compared the image obtained and the analysis results were comparable to other laser detection system e.g. LiCOR odyssey western blot imaging system.
Chemiluminescence continues to be a favorite and sensitive method of detection. Azure c600 provides quantitative analysis with accurate, fast detection with superior sensitivity, dynamic range, and linearity needed for quantitative blot analysis by chemiluminescent means made possible due to the use of the high resolution, F 0.95 fast lens technology. The superiority of the analyzer is evident from the availability to use any HRP substrate allowing users to maintain the same protocol and capture images with the same sensitivity as film without the risk of oversaturation due to the broader window of detection of several orders of magnitude of protein concentration. The c600 can also be equipped with powerful LEDS for Cy5/Cy3/Cy2 imaging or similar dyes thus allowing the users the option to expand multiplexing. The c600 is also able to image a wide range of dyes (excitation maxima from 302 nm to 785 nm), enabling WesternDots™, Stain-Free™ gels and different types of in-gel fluorescence.
The c600 system also is of immense to molecular biologists with the inclusion of UV, white, and blue lights for imaging Ethidium bromide, Coomassie, and non-mutagenic dyes like Gel red and Gel green.
Features of the machine
- Two Channel Infrared (IR) Direct Detection – Laser diodes at 660nm and 785nm
- Three Channel RGB Excitation – For Cy5/Cy3/Cy2 applications
- Fast Chemiluminescent Detection
- Capture of gel and blot images on a single instrument
- 4.3 OD Dynamic Range
- Camera captures images with spatial resolution down to 40 μm (microns) for chemiluminescence applications and 60 μm (microns) for gel and fluorescent applications
- Analysis software- AzureSpot software is very friendly, easy to use and efficient to detect and subtract the immunoblot background
Azure c600 machine offers great value for the money as it combines the functionalities of laser NIR imager with chemiluminescent camera in one simple affordable machine.
The after sales service provided by Azure Biosciences is of highest professional standard, with arrangement of hands-on training beginning from installation to detailed explanation of functioning of the machine. The technical team took into consideration about minor technical information while explaining the functioning of the Azure spot software. We had faced problem once with regards to the software and it was promptly resolved by the Azure Biosciences team.
The technical team is also helping us to explain the analysis beyond western to analyze multiplexing on glass bead format as is available for the analysis of many cytokines and key molecules from many supplier as well as thick tissues pre-labelled with dye probe e.g. GFP protein.
Source: Mathews, S. T., E. P. Plaisance and T. Kim (2009). Methods Mol Biol 536: 499-513.”
Transplantation Biology Lab, Dept. of Surgery
“This is an exceptional multi-modal imaging system. It is very sensitive, provides highly uniform images, and, importantly for a general use facility, it is VERY easy to use. I would recommend this system to a friend or colleague.”
MD Anderson Cancer Center
“Before purchasing the Azure c600, we evaluated its performance against the Odyssey CLx from LI-COR. The LI-COR and the Azure systems had similar limits of IR-based detection, but the Azure c600 was more versatile (chemi, visible and infrared capabilities), and therefore had more to offer. The c600 has an easy to use graphical interface and offers both default and customizable acquisition modes. The fast acquisition time and the ability to simultaneously detect information from multiple chemistries are definitely what sets this instrument apart from scanning-based imagers. Additionally, the Azure service team is very responsive, making improvements to the software/hardware as per customer demand.”
University of Michigan
“recently bought this imager after having tested Biorad, ProteinSimple, Multiple GE machines and UVP. I was looking for the imager that gave us the best image quality for our western blots, the price was not a question. I can confidently say that this imager gave us the highest image quality and had the most functionality, on top of being one of the more affordable imagers. I am very happy with this machine and would definitely recommend it. ”
“It is easy to use and saves a lot of time and effort. Accuracy and sensitivity is realistic.”
Hemant Kumar Bid
The Ohio State University
“The Azure imaging system is very friendly to use. The sensitivity is better than what we get using film. The customer service is outstanding and very responsive to any questions. I highly recommended this system. ”
“Operation of capture software is easy, reduces instrument manager’s training work.
We purchased a c500 imager from Azure several years before, this system runs still stable now. The excellent resolution and the sensitivity give us many quality sample images. The c500 contains many functions such as gel, ECL western blot, NIR fluorescence, it is a very important aspect for instrument platform. The operation of the capture software is very easy, it can reduce instrument manager’s training work. The service is perfect, the technical support of Azure helps us to training and support several times when we need.”
Nanjing Medical University
“Azure c500 gel imaging system is revolutionary and the expert after care astounding.
The Azure C500 gel imaging system has been an invaluable tool in our lab. It has revolutionised the blotting process. Images are spectacular and the analysis software is very user friendly. This machine makes these techniques more reliable and easier to perform. Recently we had problems with it and called for a service. The customer care and works carried out were outstanding. The work was completed in fantastic time to such a high standard. Our machine is like brand new again. I am most impressed by this level of care. Many thanks to Jan Wolfram at Azure Biosystems and Kevin Chalmers at Cambridge Bioscience. I highly recommend the Azure C500 for ease of use and functionality and the team that help look after it.”
University of Glasgow
“Best purchase we’ve made in years.
The c400 is incredibly user friendly. Using custom time intervals and sensitivities with this machine will save you tons of time in the dark room if you still develop film. The versatility makes this a product a simple purchase for those just starting to put a lab together and want to do two-channel IR direct detection, chemiluminescence, DNA/protein blot images, or even 3-channel visible fluorescent detection if you feel the need to upgrade in the future. The company has also been easy to contact with questions and demonstrations. We highly recommend this product and company.”
“Essential addition to our work-flow. State of the art instrument, great flexibility, and excellent customer support!
Our Azure c400 has proven to be extremely user friendly and an essential addition to our work-flow. Azure has developed an intuitive interface for the platform which is easy to navigate without limiting flexibility and features prior to image acquisition. And the auto exposure function provides good estimate of exposure time for the majority of our applications. The combination of a state of the art instrument, excellent post-sales support, and a responsive development team (integration of user recommended functions into the software) have made us loyal supporters of Azure.”
“High detection sensitivity and user-friendly interface.
The c300 has become one of the most frequently used instruments in our laboratory, which has high detection sensitivity and user-friendly interface. It is so powerful and durable that it rarely fails during use. The most important thing is that the company’s after-sales service is very good. As soon as a little doubt arises, their staff will arrive immediately and patiently solve the problem. We are very grateful to have met a company with good products and services.”
Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, CAS
“The quality of the C300 is very good and it rarely goes wrong.
Azure c300 is an excellent imager with faster exposure and better imaging. Campared with the other imagers, the quality of the C300 is very good and it rarely goes wrong. Moreover, the Azure team provides quality service. They responsibly install the machine and patiently train. They maintain regularly and answer technical questions quickly. Given the above, Azure c300 and its team make us satisfied.”
“We can get high quality data, the gel images have high resolution.
With Azure c300 imager we can get high quality data, the gel images have high resolution and chemi images have high sensitivity. The marker overlay function is very useful when we want to see the molecular weight comparing marker of the bands. It is a very easy to use, powerful and high-performance imager. The continuous service about every six months and the timely and professional technical support of Azure product specialist makes us without fear when using the system. Although our c300 is the first system in our university, we feel no regret to make this right choice.”
“Great results and easy to use. Very happy with our new imager.
Our company recently bought a c300 and could not be happier with its performance and reliability. It is extremely easy to use, produces very clear and consistent results and takes up much less bench space than our previous imager. Additionally, the technical support we’ve received has been amazing in answering/troubleshooting any questions or minor issues we ran into.”
“Excellent piece of kit.
The Azure c280 really is an excellent system, and the service from Cambridge Bioscience (the UK distributor) has been exceptional. Okay, this is the ‘budget’ model which lacks the fluorescence and near IR capability of the more expensive systems, but what it does (colour imaging/chemiluminescence of proteins/DNA/RNA gel imaging, it does really very well. It is quick to start, easy to use and simple to transfer files from with a small footprint on the bench. What more could you ask for?”
“Great value, small footprint and really easy to use.
This system is really easy to use, simple interface and takes great images of agarose and coomassie stained gels. Would definitely recommend this piece of equipment. It is great that it is upgradable with new features without purchasing an entire new system.”
“Azure c600 is absolutely the best imager I have used. Easy to use intuitive software, very sensitive camera with low noise. Excellent data analysis software. Very portable.”
“Azure c600 is a great machine. worked very well in our lab. Super convenient and easy to use device. Large spectrum of applications and very reliable.”