Our partnerAndor Oxford Instruments

sCMOS cameras for life sciences

Balor, Marana, Sona, Zyla and Neo from Andor Technology

The Balor, Marana, Sona, Zyla and Neo sCMOS cameras are an advancement of the well-known CMOS technology for scientific applications. Due to their special characteristics, they are suitable for many quantitative measurement problems in physics, astronomy and biology. As all Andor sCMOS cameras have extremely low noise and high sensitivity, they can often yield a better image than EMCCD cameras - even in low light conditions. Due to its vacuum enclosure, the sensors of the Marana, Sona and Neo can be cooled to industry-leading -45 °C, -40 °C and -30 °C , respectively, opening up possibilities for very demanding applications. Beside the typical use for imaging, the Marana and Zyla sCMOS cameras are very suitable for high-speed spectroscopy, especially for multi-track and hyperspectral imaging.

  • Extremely low read noise of 0.9 electrons (lower detection limit than any CCD camera)
  • Quantum efficiency up to 95%
  • Resolution 2.0, 4.2 and 5.5 megapixels with 6.5 µm and 11 µm pixels, respectively
  • Rapid frame rates of up to 101 frames/s sustained at full resolution
  • High Dynamic range up to 53,000 : 1

Further information

The Balor Marana, Sona, Zyla and Neo sCMOS cameras offer high speed, high sensitivity, and high resolution imaging performance – all at once. They can be integrated easily into research applications.

In a vacuum cooled platform, loaded with FPGA intelligence, the Balor, Marana, Sona and Neo sCMOS cameras are designed to drive highest possible sensitivity from this exciting and innovative technology development. Unlike any CMOS or CCD technology to come before it, Balor, Marana, Sona and Neo simultaneously deliver highest specifications in sensitivity, resolution, speed, dynamic range and field-of-view: true scientific imaging without compromise.

Based on a new and unique 16.9 megapixel sensor, Balor is a revolutionary sCMOS camera especially for astronomy with a very large field of view and exceptionally fast 18.5 ms readout. Balor is capable of acquiring up to 54 frames per second at full resolution whilst maintaining an very low <3 electrons read noise. The 12 µm pixels offer large well depth and an on-chip multi-amplifier design means the whole photometric range, from the noise floor up to the saturation limit, can be captured with one image, ideal for quantifying across a range of intensities. The 16.9 megapixel sensor of the Balor with a size of 49.5 mm x 49.2 mm offers the largest field of view of any sCMOS camera on the market.

Marana and Sona employ Back Illuminated sCMOS sensors with 4.2 or 2.0 megapixels and highest available quantum efficiency of 95 %. An UV-optimized sensor delivers best sensitivity from 250 nm to 400 nm.

The Zyla is ideally suited to many experiments that push the boundaries of speed and sensitivity, offering sustained performance of up to 101 frames per second with CameraLink interface - even faster with sub-images - and read noise down to 0.9 electrons. Zyla’s unique dark noise suppression technology ensures the low noise advantage is maintained over a wide range of exposure conditions. The 'plug and play' interface option offers industry leading USB 3.0 frame rate performance of up to 53 frames/s at 4.2 megapixel resolution. The unprecedented value and flexibility of the Zyla means it is also re-defining the concept of a 'workhorse' camera, rapidly displacing interline CCD cameras.

Choice of Rolling and Global (snapshot) exposure mechanisms ensure maximum application flexibility for the Zyla and Neo sCMOS cameras with the 5.5 megapixel sensor; the latter providing a 'freeze frame' capture capability that emulates that of an interline transfer CCD camera.


Overview of key specifications:


4128 x 4104 x 12 µm

2048 x 2048 x 11 µm2048 x 2048 x 11 µm1400 x 1400 x 11 µm2560 x 2160 x 6.5 µm2560 x 2160 x 6.5 µm2048 x 2048 x 6.5 µm
Quantum Efficiency61 %95%95%95%60%60%82%
Read Noise

2.9 e-

1.6 e-1.6 e-1.6 e-1.0 e-0.9 e-0.9 e-
Linearity>99.7 %99.7 %99.7 %99.7 %99%99.8 %99.8 %
Dynamic Range27586 : 153,000 : 153,000 : 153,000 : 130,000 : 133,000 : 133,000 : 1
Temperature-30 °C-45 °C-45 °C-45 °C-40 °C-10 °C / 0° C-10 °C / 0° C

air and water

or water only

air and waterair and waterair and waterair and waterair or waterair or water

Rolling and Global

RollingRollingRollingRolling and GlobalRolling and GlobalRolling
InterfaceCoaXPress (4 lane CXP-6)USB 3.0USB 3.0USB 3.03-tap CameraLinkUSB 3.0 / 10-tap CameraLinkUSB 3.0 / 10-tap CameraLink
Full Frame Rate5448487030 (100)40 / 10053 / 101


Videos about key specifications and typical applications:

2.49 MB
Seven reasons to choose Marana
1.87 MB
Neo for biological sciences
5.43 MB
Sona for biological sciences
9.31 MB
Marana for physical sciences
3.94 MB
Zyla-4.2 and Zyla-5.5 for biological sciences
4.36 MB
Zyla-4.2 and Zyla-5.5 for physical sciences


Fluorescence microscopy
Imaging with scintillation screens
Plasma- and fusion research
Quantum physics
Particle image velocimetry (PIV) and particle tracking velocimetry (PTV)


UltraVac permanent vacuum head and performance longevitiy
UltraVac permanent vacuum head and performance longevitiy
Software for Andor cameras and spectrographs
Software for Andor cameras and spectrographs
Camera windows
Camera windows
Binning and frame rates
Binning and frame rates
Cameras for astronomy
Cameras for astronomy
Scientific CMOS
Scientific CMOS
Liquid cooling system EXT-440
Liquid cooling system EXT-440

Reference customers

Microscopy of LEDs and phosphors in practical exercises for studentsS. Bock,
D. Berben
Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology,
South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences, Hagen, Germany
Fluorescence microscopy of semiconductor nanowire arraysS. Rahimzadeh-Kalaleh Rodriguez1,
D. van Dam2,
J. Gomez Rivas1,2
1Surface Photonics, AMOLF, c/o Philips Research Laboratories, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
2COBRA Research Institute, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Neo DC152 QC-FI1

Detection of electrochemically generated peroxide and superoxide by fluorescence microscopyC. Dosche,
S. Dongmo
Institute of Chemistry, University of Oldenburg, Germany2013

Neo DC152 QC-FI1

Imaging with scintillation screens
Phase transitions in 1T-TaS2 mapped by ultrafast LEEDS. Vogelgesang, G. Storeck,
S. Schäfer,
C. Ropers
IV. Physical Institute, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany2017Zyla-5.5-CL10
Application of the sCMOS camera Andor Neo for X-ray and neutron imagingN. Kardjilov1,
S. Williams1,2,
F. Wieder1,
A. Hilger1,
I. Manke1
1Helmholtz-Zentrum-Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

Neo DC152-QF-FI3

Polarization dependent photoelectron emission with high lateral resolutionT. WagnerInstitute of Experimental Physics, University of Linz, Austria2012

Neo DC152-QC-FI1

Plasma- and fusion research
Evaluation of the Zyla sCMOS imaging camera for IMSE diagnosticO. P. Ford,
C. Biedermann
Wendelstein 7-X, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Greifswald, Germany2014


Measuring ion temperatures and helium densities in the hot core of a nuclear fusion reactor using sCMOS and EMCCD camerasR. J. E. JaspersDepartment of Applied Physics, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands2014

Neo DC152 QC-FI1
iXon DU888 DC-EX

Real-time characterization of plasma evolution by diffraction imagingN. K. Rothe,
A. V. Svanidze,
C. Schuster,
M. Lütgens,
S. Lochbrunner
Institute of Physics, University of Rostock, Germany2013

Neo DC152 QC-FI1

High-speed imaging and its applications:
Beating down the scintillation noise
P. Ioannidis, J.H.M.M. SchmittHamburg Observatory, Physics Department,
University of Hamburg, Germany
Active optical debris detection: Highly accurate position determination of space debris orbitsW. Riede,
D. Hampf,
P. Wagner,
L. Humbert,
F. Sproll,
A. Giesen,
Institute of Technical Physics, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Stuttgart, Germany2016


Quantum physics
Real- and momentum-space imaging of plasmonic waveguide arraysF. Bleckmann, S. LindenPhysikalisches Institut,
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany
Particle image velocimetry (PIV) and particle tracking velocimetry (PTV)
Redesign of a 3D PTV system with ANDOR’s Neo sCMOSP. Steinhoff,
M. Schmidt,
D. Müller
E.ON Energy Research Center, Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate (EBC), RWTH Aachen University, Germany2013

Neo DC152 QFR-FI2

Photoluminescence spectroscopy of metal nanoantennas
coupled to the atomically thin semiconductor WS2
J. Kern, R. BratschitschInstitute of Physics and Center for Nanotechnology, University of Münster, Germany2015

Shamrock SR-303i-B-SIL

Using a surface-forces-apparatus to measure force-distance profiles across confined ionic liquidsT. Utzig,
H.-W. Cheng,
M. Valtiner
Department of Interface Chemistry and Surface Engineering, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung, Düsseldorf, Germany2014

Shamrock SR-500i-B2-SIL

1New part number of DC152 QC-FI: Neo-5.5-CL3
2Neo DC152 QFR-FI replaced by Neo-5.5-CL3-F
3New part number of DC152 QF-Fi: Neo-5.5-CL3-F


Julien Dumouchel
Julien Dumouchel


Quantum Design AG

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CH-1723 Marly

Phone:+41 21 8699-033
Julien DumouchelSales Manager
+41 21 8699033