Sunnyvale, Calif.-based TeleChem International islaunching the most inexpensive microarray scanner to date. Preproduction models of the 10-μm-resolution, $18,500 (US) scanner, called SpotLight, are expected to be ready at the beginning of February 2005. The scanner should be commercially available shortly after that, says Todd Martinsky, the company's founder and executive vice president.

The scanner's low cost is possible because the prices of the components used in the instrument, including the camera and optical path, have decreased dramatically while performance has increased. To excite the fluorophores, the scanner uses a proprietary "cool" light source that does not involve lasers or white light for excitation and generates less heat than traditional gas and solid-state lasers. It also uses a novel combination of charge-coupled device (CCD) and complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) detectors for optimal performance.

"The new excitation method and the CCD and CMOS architecture are being put together in a...

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