Interactive Tutorials - Spinning Disk Fundamentals

Interactive Tutorials

Optical Sectioning

Camera Exposure and Disk Speed in Spinning Disk Microscopy


In spinning disk microscopy using a Yokogawa scan head, the camera exposure times are dependent upon the intensity of fluorescence emission gathered by the specimen and vary widely from one sample to another, and the disk rotation speed must be carefully adjusted to match the camera exposure time. As a result, uniform image capture can only be performed if the exposure time is an integral multiple of the time necessary to sweep one scan frame (30 degrees of disk rotation). In cases where the exposure time is not matched (in effect, is not an exact multiple of the rotation speed), scanning will continue into the next frame and can produce a striped pattern superimposed on the image. This interactive tutorial explores matching disk rotation speed with camera exposure times.

Mismatches between disk rotation speed and camera integration periods are generally not a problem for long exposure times (greater than 100 milliseconds) where averaging occurs between frames, but can seriously hamper imaging success when exposure times are reduced to a few milliseconds. Fortunately, even though the Yokogawa disk is capable of producing 12 images from each 360-degree rotation, these individual segments do not have defined start and stop points so that any exposure corresponding to one twelfth of a disk rotation will capture a complete image irrespective of the point at which the exposure was started. Image banding can also occur when the frame shift of accumulated charge during EMCCD readout conflicts with the disk rotation speed. This artifact can be addressed by pushing the vertical shift times to shorter values.

The Yokogawa CSU-X1 features an advanced disk drive motor that allows for fine-tuning the adjustment of rotation speed to match the camera exposure time. Furthermore, the unit incorporates a dynamic balancing mechanism for the rotating parts to prevent vibrations (as well as accompanying imaging artifacts) that might occur at the highest speeds.

Contributing Authors

Adam M. Rainey and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.