Voltage Sensitive Dye Imaging of Membrane Potential

For More Detailed Analysis of Neuronal/Cardiac Activity

  • Brain Slice (Hippocampus)

  • Isolated Heart

  • Cultured Cardiomyocytes

  • Isolated Heart (Ventricular Fibrillation)

Higher throughput in comparison to electrophysiological methods

Electrodes are generally used to record electrical activity of biological samples. However, methods using electrodes have the following disadvantages.

Voltage sensitive dye imaging can solve these problems.

What is Voltage Sensitive Dye (VSD)?

Voltage sensitive dye changes its absorbance and fluorescence intensity when membrane potential changes in a stained brain or heart tissue.

By using voltage sensitive dyes as chemical probes and capturing changes in light intensity with the use of a high-speed imaging device, it is possible to image in real time the activity of where, when, and how much excitation or inhibition occurred, in the brain and heart.

The main advantage of optical mapping with voltage sensitive dye is that spatial information can be obtained without reducing the number of recording points, simply by changing the magnification of the optics.

(A) Glass electrode penetrating the neuronal membrane.
(B and C) Metal electrodes for recording extracellular activity
(D) Voltage sensitive dyes are molecular probes that enter the neuronal membrane and convert membrane potential into fluorescence intensity. The figure shown in E is the action potential of a giant squid nerve axon; the solid black line is the intracellualr recording and the red dots show the voltage sensitive dye recording.

3 Advantages of Voltage Sensitive Dye Imaging

1. Non-invasive recording of active in entire tissue or sample

2. Easy recording without electrophysiological skills

3. Multi-parametric recording of Vm, Ca2+, metabolism...etc is possible.

Sample data

Examples of animals, samples, and probes/methods used for optical mapping

Animal Sample Probe/Method
Isolated heart - Langendorff perfused heart
- In Vivo heart
- Simultaneous dual wavelength imaging of
membrane potntial and ca2+ transient
- Panoramic imaging of heart by using multiple cameras
- Cultured cardiomyocyte sheet - iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) - Voltage sensitive dye imaging
- Calcium imaging
In Vivo brain - Somatosensory cortex
- Visual cortex
- Auditory cortex
- Voltage sensitive dye imaging
- Imaging with FRET, GCaMP, GEVI
- Intrinsic optical signal imaging based on hemoglobin and flavoprotein autofluorescence
Brain slice - Hippocampus
- Somatosensory cortex
- Visual cortex
- Auditory cortex
- Voltage sensitive dye imaging
- Intrinsic optical signal imaging


High speed voltage sensitive dye imaging of spontaneous activities in cultured neuronal network

Monolayer of neonatal mouse ventricular myocyte stained with voltage sensitive dye

Voltage sensitive dye imaging of isolated langendorff pig heart at 1,818fps

Voltage sensitive dye imaging of brain slice using MiCAM05-N256

About Us

SciMedia specializes in complete turn-key, high speed optical mapping systems for neuroscience and cardiac research. Our cameras utilize unique CMOS sensors, which are designed to detect voltage, calcium, and intrinsic signals, while providing an optimal combination of high speed, high resolution, and high signal to noise ratios.

Since 1998, SciMedia has been supporting customers and collaborating with labs internationally. Based on ideas and requests from researchers, we strive to offer the highest quality optical mapping systems including both hardware devices and software..

Our Advantages

Custom CMOS image sensors having high speeds, wide dynamic range, and low noise
Our cameras are used to detect both voltage sensitive dye signals and calcium signals at optimal S/N ratios.
Imaging system, optics, and software developed based on 24 years of experience
Turnkey systems are ready for immediate use. Custom-made products are also available upon customers requests.
650 scientific research papers have been published using our imaging systems
Our systems are used by customers in over 220 universities, research institutes, and companies. 420 units have been installed in the last 24 years.

High-Speed Imaging Systems developed for Voltage Sensitive Dye Imaging

Download - Brochure


Free Download - Data Analysis Software

Perform data analysis with actual voltage sensitive dye data. Data analysis software, BV_Ana, and isolated heart/brain slice data can be downloaded.

(Note: Sales and support for BV_Ana have ended. The latest version of data analysis software is BV Workbench.)


BV_Ana is the data analysis software for MiCAM series imaging systems. It has an intuitive user interface and is designed for users to quickly analyze data after image acquisition. In addition to quick image and movie display with user selected wave display, various types of filters are available, as well as data export functions for multiple data formats including avi, jpeg, csv, simple binary/ascii, multi-tiff, etc…Creation of data files for presentations is very simple and straightforward.

Key Functions

Image display dF display, real image display, image gain setting, threshold level setting, color bar display, color reversal, tile image display, etc.
Time control Video playback, video speed control, frame by frame playback, adjustment of playback speed, Frame number/time display, etc.
Waveform display Waveform display by double-clicking on image, expanding/reducing the displayed time range, spatial filters, temporal filters, etc.
Supported data format - Data acquired from MiCAM ULTIMA, MiCMA02, MiCAM01
- 16bit gray-scale multi-tiff

Recommended Specifications

OS Windows 7 32bit/64bit
Windows 10 64bit
RAM 256MB or more
Display resolution 1,920x1,200 pixels recommended

How to install/use BV_Ana

1. After registering your email address, click the link in the email that will automatically be sent to you, then download the zip file.
(See the bottom of this page for email registration instructions.)

Zip file including the installer of BV_Ana and sample data

2. Unzip the downloaded zip file.

3. Double-click the BV_Ana installer in the folder to start installing BV_Ana.

Installer of BV_Ana

4. After installation, click the icon of BV_Ana in the Start menu to start BV_Ana.

Icon of BV_Ana

5. BV_Ana is opened.

6. Select “Format=All”.
Expand the "Folder" tree to display the "data" folder, which is included in the downloaded folder. Double-click the data name displayed in the “File List” to open the data on the canvas.

7. Click the Control tab. Click the [auto] button below the [Mon] slide bar to automatically adjust the gain of the background image.

8. Double-click on the image to display a waveform.

9. Click and drag the point on the image, and the waveform display will change accordingly.

10. Click on the waveform display. Membrane potential (fluorescence) change at the selected point will be displayed in pseudo-color.

11. Click "Img" arrows or drag scroll bar to adjust displayed gain of pseudo color. Click "Wave" arrows or drag scroll bar to adjust gain of waveforms.

12. Click the "movie" button to play the video.


13. To smooth the image data and wave/s displayed, "Spatial filter" and/or "Cubic filter" on the "Calculation" are helpful.

14. By double-clicking on the image, multiple waveforms can be displayed.

15. By clicking and dragging a pointer, the waveform (light intensity change) at different locations can be displayed.

How to download BV_Ana

Please enter your email in the box below and click the [SEND] button. An automatic email will be sent to the email address you entered.

Click the download link in the email to start downloading the zip file.

(This registration screen uses Google forms. After clicking the [SEND] button, this screen will transition to the google forms screen.)