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Sapphire Biomolecular Imager

The Sapphire™ Biomolecular Imager from Azure Biosystems is a next generation laser-based scanning platform that combines exceptional sensitivity and image quality with unparalleled application flexibility. 

With the option to combine NIR fluorescence (both long and short), RGB fluorescence, chemiluminescent and phosphor imaging capabilities in a single instrument, the Sapphire meets virtually any laboratory’s most demanding imaging needs.

Benefits of using the SapphireSapphire Open
• Combines four imaging modalities in a single instrument
• Simultaneous four colour scanning
• High resolution image capture - down to 10 microns
• High sensitivity for lower limits of detection (femtograms)
• Ultrawide dynamic range for accurate quantification
• Low and high abundance samples quantified simultaneously
• Easy to use 
• Powerful image capture and analysis software 
• Compact footprint - 75 x 70 x 45 cm

System features
• NIR fluorescence, RGB fluorescence, chemiluminescence, visible, white light and phosphor imaging
• Up to four solid state lasers as excitation sources (450, 520, 660 & 780 nm)
• Photon multiplier tube (PMT) for fluorescence and phosphor imaging
• Avalanche photodiodes (APD) for near-infrared imaging
• CCD sensor for chemiluminescent and visible imaging
• Sapphire Capture software for high quality yet simple image capture
• AzureSpot Analysis software for accurate quantification

Sapphire models available

  NIR Chemi RGB White light Phosphor
Sapphire '6' X X X X X
Sapphire '4' X   X   X
Sapphire NIR + RGB X   X    
Sapphire NIR X        
Sapphire RGB     X    
Sapphire PI         X

Sapphire NIR-Q biomolecular imager
Combining all the advantages of the highly sensitive, low background and fast-scanning Sapphire NIR, the Sapphire NIR-Q has two channels for multiplex protein detection and a third channel for total protein detection. Find out more.

Imaging options
1. Fluorescent imaging
2. Chemiluminescent imaging
3. Phosphor imaging

1. Fluorescent imaging
The wide yet stable range of fluorescent probes on offer enables both the analysis of multiple probes on a single blot and the reliable and stable quantification of both weak and strong bands via fluorescent imaging. Supporting a wide range of visible and NIR dyes at a very high sensitivity, Sapphire can analyse both low and high abundance samples.

Fluorescent imaging applications
a.  Simultaneous scanning quantitative multiplex Western Blots
Multiplex fluorescent Western blots enable the detection and quantification of multiple proteins on a single blot without stripping and re-probing. With Sapphire, up to four different fluorescent probes can be used and simultaneously imaged.

Sapphire Quantitative Western Blot

HeLa cell lysates spiked with transferrin were imaged on a western blot that was simultaneously probed with anti-tubulin (550 nm, green), anti ẞ-actin (700 nm, red), anti-GAPDH (800 nm, gray), and anti-transferrin (490 nm, blue). Sensitive and specific detection of all four proteins can be seen, with no evidence of background autofluorescence or bleed-through between channels.

AzureSpectra 490 labeled purified BSA

b.  High resolution gel imaging
Electrophoresis (2D and SDS) enables the visualisation and quantification of subtle changes in DNA and protein expression. The Sapphire's broad dynamic range, high resolution image capture and compatibility with most stains and dyes, including EtBr, SYBR® Green, Coomassie™ Blue and Sypro® Ruby, enables the accurate detection of minute changes in complex samples. 

Sapphire Gel Imaging

Untreated HeLa lysate was labelled with Cy3. Treated HeLa lysate was labelled with Cy5. Samples were simultaneously separated using IEF in the first dimension and SDS-PAGE in the second dimension.

Sapphire gel imagin transferrin

Purified transferrin was serially diluted 1:1 from 5000 pg to 5 pg and separated using SDS-PAGE in a 4-15% Tris-Glycine gel. After separation, the gel was stained using Coomassie Blue and imaged using the 658 nm laser of the Sapphire Biomolecular Imager.

c. Cell-based ELISAs
Target-specific primary antibodies and fluorescently conjugated secondary antibodies enable the detection of proteins in fixed cells. With the Sapphire, relative protein expression of several target proteins can be measured quickly and accurately in multiple samples using spectrally distinct dyes.

Sapphire Cell Based ELISA

HeLa cells were serially diluted and seeded into a 96-well plate, cultured, fixed and permeabilised, then probed for tubulin with AzureSpectra 550 (520 channel, green), beta-actin with AzureSpectra 800 (780 nm channel, blue) & RedDot™1 Nuclear Stain as a normalization control (780 nm channel, red).

d. Slide-based imaging
With the ability to capture images down to 10 microns, Sapphire can image very small features on fluorescent DNA arrays, protein arrays and tissue slides.

Sapphire Slide Based Imaging

Full Moon BioSystems Scanner Calibration Slide scanned at 10 μm resolution using the 520 nm and 658 nm channels of the Sapphire.

2. Chemiluminescent imaging
The amplification of signal by enzyme activity can make chemiluminescent imaging more sensitive than other detection techniques and produce images with no "background" enabling the fast detection of low abundance proteins.

Chemiluminescent imaging applications
a. Western blotting
Traditional film can saturate quickly, making it hard to distinguish weak and strong bands simultaneously. Using digital imaging, Sapphire has a wide dynamic range enabling both high and low abundance samples to be quantified.

Sapphire Chemi

Simultaneous imaging of chemiluminescent samples and colored molecular weight markers. Images are captured serially, and then overlaid within the capture software.

Sapphire Chemi Scale

3. Phosphor imaging
Radiolabelled samples are exposed to a storage phosphor screen whereupon light is emitted from the screen in proportion to the amount of radioactivity in the sample upon laser-induced stimulation.

Phosphor imaging applications
a. Filmless autoradiography

Sapphire Phosphor Imaging C14

Carbon-14 standard exposed to Storage Phosphor Screen for three hours then imaged on the Sapphire Biomolecular Imager

Sapphire Phosphor Imaging

Sample: 14C autoradiographic standard. Imaging: Phosphor. LOD: 0.036 μCi/g. DR: 5.4 orders of magnitude. Linearity: R2=0.99.

Sapphire with PC

The Sapphire can image much more than blots and gels. It enables you to produce 10 μm resolution images of in-cell Western blots, microarray slides, tissue samples, 2D gels and more.

Tissue section revealing visible motor neurons fixed on microscopy slide scanned at 10 microns using Sapphire scanner


 Bee head, seed, tissue sample and plant stem imaged using the Sapphire

Diverse samples

10 μm large scale resolution scanning of microarray slides provides a rapid method to capture large scale experimental results.



Material available for download
Sapphire Biomolecular Imager brochure
Detecting proteins in-situ with in-cell Western blotting application note
Increasing assay efficiency with four colour detection application note
Phosphor imaging with the Sapphire Biomolecular Imager application note

More information
To request a technical presentation or for more information, please contact our Sapphire specialists

Coomassie is a registered trademark of ICI.
SYBR and Sypro are registered trademarks of Thermo Fisher Scientific.


Note: product availability depends on country - see product detail page.

Details Cat number & supplier Size Price
Sapphire Biomolecular Imager - NIR IS1024 · Azure Biosystems
Azure Biosystems
1 unit POA
1 unit
Sapphire Biomolecular Imager - PI IS1027 · Azure Biosystems
Azure Biosystems
1 unit POA
1 unit
Sapphire Biomolecular Imager - RGB IS1025 · Azure Biosystems
Azure Biosystems
1 unit POA
1 unit
Sapphire Biomolecular Imager - RGBNIR IS1026 · Azure Biosystems
Azure Biosystems
1 unit POA
1 unit
Sapphire Chemiluminescence Upgrade IS1003 · Azure Biosystems
Azure Biosystems
1 unit POA
1 unit
Sapphire Phosphor Imaging Upgrade IS1004 · Azure Biosystems
Azure Biosystems
1 unit POA
1 unit