Autoradiography using storage phosphor technology overcomes 2 limitations which are inherent to conventional film-based autoradiography, poor sensitivity and a limited nonlinear dynamic range. Instead of film, a radioactive gel or blot is exposed in a light-proof cassette to a photostimulable storage phosphor imaging plate. High energy radiation excites electrons in the plate resulting in an absorption band around 600nm. Scanning of the plate with a helium-neon laser (633nm) reduces the electrons back to ground state with the subsequent release of a photon at 390nm. The intensity of the resulting luminescence is recorded and stored as a digital image. The image may be viewed on the monitor and quantified using ImageQuant software. Unlike film, imaging plates are reusable. They are easily erased for subsequent use with bright visible light.
The Molecular Dynamics phosphorimager and workstation computer are housed in 490 RAL and available to trained users 24 hours a day. The facility has 4 imaging cassettes which may be borrowed for a small daily fee.