NightOWL LB 983 in vivo Imaging System

The pioneering in vivo Imager

More than 20 years ago Berthold Technologies introduced one of the first in vivo imaging systems its Luminograph. For the first time it enabled to detect low light  emission in organisms, opening up the opportunity of monitoring reporter genes in animals and plants in a noninvasive way. This new and exciting technology changed the way of medical research offering the important step of working under physiological conditions in a living animal.

Nowadays Berthold Technologies offers with the NightOWL II a state-of-the-art molecular imaging system for in vivo gene expression with luciferases and fluorescent proteins as well as for the localisation with fluorescent-labelled antibodies.

Sensitivity, versatility and ease-of-use in combination make the NightOWL a superior instrument.

  • deep-cooled CCD camera
  • moving camera for flexible field of view
  • signal intensity is height-corrected
  • multiple accessories for different specimens
  • software controlled interfaces and power sockets
  • ports for outside access

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Lowest Noise CCD Camera

To get negiligible background even with long exposure times needed with weak expression levels the LB 983 NightOWL II is equipped with a deeply cooled back-illuminated slow scan CCD camera.

With its high full well capacity for a large dynamic range and midband coating to enhance the quantum efficiency in the spectral range between 440 to 770 nm it ideally matches luciferase and GFP emission wavelenghts.

Moving Camera and Sophisticated Sample Cabinet

The sample compartment is extremly light-tight and has enough space to install special light sources or to insert transilluminators, heating tables and other specimen holders. These devices may even be switched on and off through the software and the built-in sockets.

NightOWL is the first imager with an motor-driven camera inside the cabinet for a seamless change of the filed of view. Thus, the sample size can vary between 35 and 260 mm. Positioning is reproducible with ±100 µm and all intensities are height-corrected.

Constant Fluorescence Excitation and Illumination Devices

The light intensitiy to excite the fluorophores in the sample is kept constant through a special circuitry for reliable and repeatable fluorescent measurements. This allows calibration of the imaging system for each fluorophor.

Different illumination systems such as gooseneck fibre optics, ringlights and dual line optics are available to transmit the excitation light in an ideal way.

Light-Tight Ports

This option can be used to introduce heated or cooled liquids and gases, specific cables or even fiber optics and manipulators into the NightOWL sample compartment without compromising the light-tigthness of the system.

IndiGO software

The in vivo imaging software supports complete hardware control and offers extensive tools for image evaluation. It combines quick acquisitions with the possibility for open and individual settings as well as as GLP compliant user management.

X-Ray Imaging

X-Ray transillumination imaging is available in selected countries.

Some techniques for generating and/or detecting light in biological subjects are patented and may require licences from third parties. Users are advised to independently determine for themselves wheter their activities infringe any valid patent.



Detection Devices1 Mpixel CCD (1024x1024), cooled to - 90°C, Pixel size 13x13 µm2, back lit midband-coated full frame chip; full well capacity 100000e-; Readout noise < 3 e- @ 50KHz; dark noise 0.0003 e-/ pixel/ sec @ -80°C; Spectral range: 350-1050 nm, Quantum efficiency 90% at 620 nm; 16 bit A/D conversion; max. frame rate 2.2 fps
Pixel Binningvariable up to 16 x 16
Lensf 0.95, C-mount, 25 mm; resolution from 102 µm/pixel (FOV 10 x 10 mm2) to 253 µm/pixel (FOV 260 x 260 mm2)
Field of Viewmax. 260 mm x 260 mm, min. 10 mm x 10 mm
Position of Viewtop
Sample Heightmax. 312 mm
Exposure Timesfrom milliseconds to hours
Schedulingminutes to weeks
Excitation Sourcehalogen lamp, 75W, 340-750 nm, software controlled lamp stabilisation
Excitation Devicesdual gooseneck
ring light
dual line illumination
Dark chamberabsolutely light-tight; camera mounted on top or at the side; dual flange for mulitport access; software controlled mains outlet; software controlled I/O ports
Dimensionsinstrument: 12200 x 600 x 400 mm (H x W x D)
OSWin XP, Win Vista, Win 7






Recommended Filters for NightOWL
 ExcitationOrder No.EmissionOrder No.
Fluorescein475/20 nm53183   520/10 nm39805
TAMRA530/20 nm38536600/20 nm50477
Resorufin550/10 nm39796620/10 nm40540
CyTM5630/20 nm50097   680/30 nm49180
CyTM5.5630/20 nm50097   700/20 nm50479
CyTM7700/20 nm50475   780/20 nm50476
ICG740/30 nm50480820/30 nm50481
Qdot®700630/20 nm50097700/20 nm50479
Qdot®800630/20 nm50097820/30 nm50481


Gas Anesthesia Unit

Gas anesthesia has a couple of benefits versus Tribromoethanol anesthesia as rodents breathe normally, blood pressure and ATP levels are more stable

  • increased luminescence
  • less harmful

so rodents can be anaesthesized for longer periods and/or more often per day.

The vaporizer system works with low pressure and low flow minimizing the danger of gas leaking from the nozzles and reducing the consumption of isoflurane.

In collaboration with INSERM Unité 540, Montpellier, France, a special mouse tray has been developed. Up to five mice can be parallel anaesthesized in this tray. The tray is temperature controlled to ensure body temperature is kept stable during imaging. To prevent crosstalk of light emission from one rodent to the other removable barriers separate five compartments.

Macro Table

Image acquisition of small abjects require the use of the macro table. The magnification is increased 5 fold.

With an additional 5-fold digital zoom an overall magnification up to 25-fold is possible.

Ring-light epi illumination

The ring-light option for fluorescence exciation is ideal for a homogeneous illumination of a single small specimen. The ring-light is mounted on an adjustable support stand allowing positioning at heights between 140 and 160 mm.

Dual Line epi illumination

This epi illumination option is recommended for larger or multiple specimens.

Gooseneck spot illumination

The gooseneck spot illumination is a perfect combination together with the macro table for close-up images and very small samples. The space between camera and object can be kept minimized.


The illuminated area of NightOWL transilluminators is 200 x 200 mm. Housings of stainless steel housing and silicon sealed glass covers ensure stability and long lifetime.

The blue light transilluminator with 470 nm illumination uses high intensity LEDs and is ideal for excitation of QuantumDots®.

Orthogonal Mirrors for 3D-Imaging

To get more information about the localisation of the luminescent signal the orthogonal mirror 3D-imaging option can be applied. This device allows imaging of specimens from top, left-hand and right-hand side.

The sample itself stays untouched on the tray. All three images can be taken at once or each position can be imaged separately by moving the whole tray in order to get a better resolution.

Animal Beds

In multimodality imaging animals have to be transferred between the different imaging systems without chaning their position. Various animal beds are available matching the imaging compartment of CT, MRI and PET scanners which can be inserted in the NightOWL as well.

Test plates & QC Services

For continuous verification of the instrument performance test plates can be applied by the user and Performance Qualification services done by experienced Berthold Technologies personnel are available.

Luminescence Test Plate

PQ Services

Specifically for the imaging systems an additional frame to mount neutral density filters can be used to allow linearity checks over six orders of magnitude.

Positioning Plates

To get specific sample holder into the centre of the optical assembly positioning devices are available for e.g.

  • microplates
  • Petri dishes
  • orthogonal mirror
  • sterile boxes
  • QC testplate

Fresnel option

To overcome the parallax problem present in imaging of microplates a Fresnell lens has to be added on top of the microplate.


The workstation is a sturdy construction on casters providing enough space for the instrument plus anesthesia system, computer and accessories.


Whole animals and plants can be imaged as well as blots, gels, micro-plates, cell culture dishes and arrays regardless luminescent or fluorescent markers are used.

Luminescence as a Tool to Monitor Bacterial Growth

Lorenz et al. (2011). In Vivo Detection of Staphylococcus aureus in Biofilm on Vascular Prostheses Using Non-invasive Biophotonic Imaging. ESVS 41 (1), 68-75 Read more

Anany et al. (2011). Biocontrol of Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Meat by Using Phages Immobilized on Modified Cellulose Membranes. Appl Environ Microbiol 77 (18), 6379-6387 Read more

Analysis of Promoter Activity

Foulston et al. (2011). Feed-Forward Regulation of Microbisporicin Biosynthesis in Microbispora coralline. J Bacteriol 193 (12), 3064-3071 Read more

Bioluminescence and Biofluorescence Imaging to Monitor Tumor Growth and Marked Cells in Mice and Rats

David et al. (2011). In vivo imaging of DNA lipid nanocapsules after systemic administration in a melanoma mouse model. Intern J of Pharmaceutics 423 (1), 108-115 Read more

Fradet et al. (2011). Dual Function of ERRα in Breast Cancer and Bone Metastasis Formation: Implication of VEGF and Osteoprotegerin. Cancer Res 71 (17), 5728-38 Read more

Fan et al. (2012). In vivo treatment of tumors using host-guest conjugated nanoparticles functionalized with doxorubicin and therapeutic gene pTRAIL. Biomaterials 33 (5), 1428-1436 Read more

Bioluminescence Imaging of Parasites in Mice and Rats

Talmi-Frank et al. (2012). Leishmania tropica experimental infection in the rat using luciferase transfected parasites. Veterinary Parasitology (in press). Read more

Feeding Experiments in Mice and Rats

Page et al. (2011). HSC70 blockade by the therapeutic peptide P140 affects autophagic processes and endogenous MHCII presentation in murine lupus. Ann Rheum Dis 70, 837-843 Read more

Measurement of Quantum Dots

Li et al. (2012). Real-time mapping of rat stomach lymph nodes by quantum dots. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 47 (4), 454-460 Read more

Quantitation of Bioluminescence

Pesnel et al. (2011). Quantitation in Bioluminescence Imaging by Correction of Tissue Absorption for Experimental Oncology. Molecular Imaging and Biology 13 (4), 646-652 Read more

Some techniques for generating and/or detecting light in biological subjects are patented and may require licences from third parties. Users are advised to independently determine for themselves wheter their activities infringe any valid patent.


Application Report
Format Size
AN LB981 001b Luciferin bioavailability in mice Luciferin bioavailability in mice during in-vivo imaging de, en PDF 315.68 KB
AN LB981 002b Bioluminescence Imaging using NightOWL Bioluminescence Imaging using NightOWL LB 981 NC 100 de, en PDF 307.03 KB
AN LB981 003a Monitoring of Renilla Luciferase Activities Monitoring of Renilla Luciferase Activities in-vitro and in-vivo de, en PDF 384.96 KB
AN LB981 004a Quantum dots in imaging Quantum dots in Molecular Imaging de, en PDF 529.49 KB
AN LB983 001a BFI Nanoparticles Fluorescence in Vivo Imaging of labeled Nanoparticles in Tumour bearing Mice with NightOWL LB 983 de, en PDF 201.41 KB
NigthOWL Publication List de, en PDF 132.45 KB
Format Size
Bioanalytic Instruments - Product Portfolio Overview / Übersicht Bioanalytic Instruments de, en PDF 678.61 KB
Digital Imaging Glossary 2007 de, en PDF 504.87 KB
Filter Data Sheet / Filterdatenblatt (2016-04) de, en PDF 575.31 KB
IndiGO Imaging Software Brochure 2009 de, en PDF 1.04 MB
NightOWL LB 983 Accessories Brochure 2008 de, en PDF 787.24 KB
NightOWL LB 983 Brochure 2008 de, en PDF 1.15 MB
Press & Media
Format Size
2012-07 (July 2012) ASPB & NightSHADE plant imaging NL Plant Imaging Issue Berthold Technologies Newsletter July 2012 de, en PDF 108.62 KB

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