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Biotium’s New Laser Diode Gel Illuminator Offers a Superior Alternative to LED and UV-based Illumination

The Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator is more sensitive than blue LED illuminators for red dyes, without UV hazards.

Fremont, CA, October 4, 2022: Biotium, a leading supplier and inventor of fluorescent tools for life science research, announces the release of the next-generation Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator. In partnership with Biotium, light and optics instrumentation company OMEC Medical developed the gel illuminator to offer a better alternative to UV and LED-based gel imaging. The Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator features a novel laser diode-based illumination technology that offers exceptional performance for a wide selection of fluorescent dyes and does not require laser safety glasses. The gel illuminator delivers significantly improved sensitivity for red dyes over blue LED illuminators, as well as improved performance for imaging green dyes over UV transilluminators.

Gel illuminators have traditionally relied on UV illumination for visualization of fluorescently labeled nucleic acids and proteins. However, UV-based illumination can damage a user’s skin and eyes, as well as their DNA samples. LED-based illuminators were developed as a safer alternative to UV. However, LED illuminators often have high background and dim signal due to excessive ambient light and poor excitation efficiency. Specifically, widely used blue LED gel illuminators are poorly optimized for excitation of red DNA dyes such as GelRed® and ethidium bromide (EtBr).

In close partnership with Biotium scientists, OMEC Medical developed the new Gel-Bright™ to offer sensitive gel imaging for both green and red dyes without relying on hazardous UV light. The incorporation of laser diodes enables stronger and more focused illumination, allowing brighter and more efficient excitation for a wide range of fluorescent dyes. As a result, the Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator offers better sensitivity over UV-based transilluminators when imaging green dyes such as GelGreen® or SYBR® Green/SYBR® Safe, as well as significantly better performance over blue LED gel illuminators for red dyes such as GelRed®, ethidium bromide (EtBr), and One-Step Lumitein™ Protein Gel Stain.

The Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator contains 12 laser diodes that are positioned at an optimal angle for consistent and uniform illumination of the gel. Safety glasses are not required because the amount of laser light that could enter the eye’s pupil is below the CDRH limits. In addition, an adjustable multi-hinged amber filter provides optimal signal-to-noise and can be moved into a lower position for gel imaging, or a higher position for easy access when excising bands. With convenience in mind, the gel illuminator also has a compact and portable design for easy transport and minimizing occupied space on benchtops.

Each purchase of a Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator will include a free sample of GelRed® Agarose LE and GelGreen® Agarose LE. These are safer and more convenient pre-coated agarose formats that remove the extra step of adding dye to your agarose. A Gel-Bright™ Imaging Hood, which is a fitted enclosure for convenient imaging with your cell phone or tablet, will be offered as an optional accessory at a later date. Please visit the product page to learn more about the new Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator.

Features and benefits of the Gel-Bright Laser-Diode Gel Illuminator

  • Novel laser diode illumination: Superior performance for imaging fluorescent gels
  • Brighter signal: More sensitive than UV transilluminators for green dyes
  • Versatile: Works well with both green and red dyes, unlike blue LED illuminators
  • Safer: Eliminates UV light hazards for user and DNA samples
Two-fold dilution series of Biotium’s Ready-to-Use 1 kb DNA Ladder (Cat. No. 31022) were separated on 1% agarose TBE gels pre-cast with GelRed® or GelGreen®. Total DNA loaded per lane is indicated below the gels. The same gels were imaged using a UVP GelDoc-iT® (UV), Thermo Fisher Safe Imager™ 2.0 Blue-Light Transilluminator (Safe Imager™), first generation Gel-Bright™ LED Gel Illuminator (Blue LED), or new Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator (Gel-Bright™). On GelDoc-iT®, an EtBr filter was used to image GelRed® and a SYBR® filter was used for GelGreen®. For imaging on Thermo Fisher Safe Imager™ 2.0 Blue-Light Transilluminator, Gel-Bright™ LED Gel Illuminator, and Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator, the filters supplied with each device were used to photograph both GelRed® and GelGreen® stained gels. The Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator demonstrated the brightest signal for gels stained with GelGreen® and performed comparably to the UVP GelDoc-iT® for gels stained with GelRed®.

The release of the Gel-Bright™ Laser Diode Gel Illuminator adds to Biotium’s industry-leading catalog of novel solutions for life science research. Learn more about Biotium’s safer and more sensitive GelRed® and GelGreen® nucleic acid gel stains, EMBER500™ RNA Prestain Loading Dye, and One-Step protein gel stains.