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The SAI has three different optical imaging systems in two different buildings on campus.  Also, monthly trainings are available for users to conduct their own imaging studies.  See below for details.

IVIS® Optical System


There are two IVIS optical systems in the SAI facility, IVIS-Lumina and IVIS-Kinetic (PerkinElmer Inc.).  Both systems provide highly sensitive bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging in vivo with physiological relevant molecular and functional information. The IVIS systems can be used for in-vivo, ex-vivo, and in-vitro imaging studies and are ideal for quantitative imaging and high throughput screening applications. The IVIS-Kinetic is equipped with EM-CCD camera with higher sensitivity and real-time imaging capability.  The IVIS-Lumina is similar to the IVIS-Kinetic but does not have real time capabilities. The IVIS-Kinetic is located in the Marsico Imaging facility in the subbasement, and the IVIS Lumina is located in the Genetic Medicine Building room UB61.  The IVIS-Lumina is facilitating optical imaging studies with animals located only in the GMB vivarium.  Both systems are equipped with a gas anesthesia system and a work station to provide complete imaging support.

Main imaging features

  • Capable of bioluminescence imaging and fluorescence imaging (ranging from 500-820nm)
  • Adjustable field of view with default 3 mice or 1 rat to be imaged in one field of view. The FOV can be enlarged with additional demagnification lens to have 5 mice imaged simultaneously.
  • Highly sensitive back-thinned, back-illuminated, cooled CCD camera.
  • Extremely light-tight, low background imaging chamber allows it to be used in standard lab lighting environments.
  • 10 excitation filters, 25 narrow-band emission filters (500nm-800nm) for IVIS-Kinetic, and 4 broad-band emission filters for IVIS-Lumina.
  • Capable to image mice, tissue samples, and cells in petri dish.

Ami HT Optical Imaging System

The Ami system is capable of providing both bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging on animals and tissue specimens for preclinical research.  The system is housed in Marsico Hall SAI imaging facility.  The Ami system is very similar to the IVIS system in terms of imaging performance and operation.

Main imaging features

  • Large field of view
  • Defalt 25 x17 cm field of view
  • Can image five mice without demagnification lens
  • Wavelength specific LED excitation light source for fluorescence imaging
  • Individual LED for each wavelength
  • Adjustable power level to meet varius excitation needs
  • Vertically openning door with more efficency
  • Less isoflurane leakage
  • Easier to use and more robust
  • Aura imaging software with unlimited seat licenses (downloadable online)
  • Analysis can be done on any 64bit Windows computer
  • Ability to analyze IVIS Living Image files

Compared to IVIS-Lumina system, the Ami system provides slightly higher imaging sensitivity. Its fluorescence signal could be higher due to the strong LED light source. Together with the IVIS systems, the Ami system will provide all the optical imaging needs from our research community.

Optical Imaging Study examples

  • Oncology Research
  • Infectious Disease
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolic Disease
  • Neurology
  • Gene Therapy
  • Stem cell Biology
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Drug metabolism
  • Cherenkov radiation imaging


The SAI offers monthly training on IVIS optical imaging systems.  Please click on this link to learn more.  Staff supported imaging is also available with additional fees.  Please contact us at or call us at 919-966-2855 with any questions about your optical study.


Optical imaging can be scheduled after training by SAI staff through iLab.  Please follow the instructions at the Schedule a Study link for more details or contact us at with questions.

Sample Images