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I see plenty of back illuminated CMOS cameras, low noise cameras, high sensitivity cameras for microscopes.

What's the point? Is there a use case for it or is it pure marketing? We have a lot of light available for microscopy imaging.

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I've used such cameras for fluorescence microscopy and had to deal with very low-light, high-noise conditions, especially when looking at transient signals like calcium imaging or flavoprotein autofluorescence.

In many of these applications additional light would cause photobleaching, and for live-cell imaging additionally cause phototoxicity/death of the imaged cells.

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  • $\begingroup$ so it's very specialized. and for fluo it should be CCD, right ? not a CMOS ? or cmos works too ? $\endgroup$
    – ker2x
    Mar 8, 2023 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ @ker2x I'm not an expert in sensor engineering/physics, but I believe CMOS is more sensitive and can get you single-photon detection which is then amplified immediately, which is necessary to overcome the noise added in digitization. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 8, 2023 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ @ker2x I wouldn't call fluorescence microscopy "very specialized". It's used in numerous fields, and in some areas of cell biology it's used quite extensively. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Mar 8, 2023 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ possibly confocal as well ? i don't know the intensity of the lasers $\endgroup$
    – ker2x
    Mar 8, 2023 at 18:32
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    $\begingroup$ Confocal cuts light by a ton, yes. Effectively you get two attenuations of the light: going through the confocal first cuts it into a tiny window, then going back through it again cuts the emission light into a tiny window. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 8, 2023 at 18:35
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Nearly all modern image sensors are CMOS, and most reasonable-sized sensors are also back illuminated. Even if you don't need the sensitivity, you're probably still going to use one because that is what you can buy.

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