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Key Words: photobleaching, phototoxicity, lasers, AOTF, fluorescence, live cell imaging, FRAP, FLIP, PA-GFP

Definition:A device that regulates laser power


A typical acousto-optical modulator is made of a crystal of tellurium dioxide attached to a piezo transducer. When the piezo transducer vibrates, the crystal is compressed and its refractive index changes - and hence the refraction of light passing through the crystal. An AOM is used to regulate laser power allowing fine tuning of excitation and hence brightness of fluorophores in specimens. In addition, an AOM device enables laser light to be turned on and off within an approximate 1µ time frame allowing bleaching of samples on a pixel to pixel basis.


AOM technology is especially valuable in live cell imaging applications, where fine control and targeting of laser power can help to reduce phototoxicity and photobleaching of fluorophores. AOM technology also allows targeted bleaching or activation of fluorophores in, for example, FRAP or PA-GFP studies.


An AOM is an optional module that can be configured with C1 confocal systems in combination with Nikon's 3-laser module. All single band lasers (except diode lasers, which can be controlled directly), require their own AOM to enable fine control of intensity,


Nikon's 3-laser module can be equipped with an AOM for precise control over laser power. The 3-laser module can be configured with Nikon's C1 confocal systems compatible with Nikon Eclipse Series 80i and 90i, E-600 and E-800 upright microscopes, FN1 and E600FN fixed stage physiology microscopes, and Nikon Eclipse Series TiE, TiU, and TE-300 inverted microscopes.

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