ImageXpress Micro Confocal High-Content Imaging System

Explore the new dimension with the confocal system for your complex biology.

The ImageXpress® Micro Confocal High-Content Imaging System enables you to expand the boundaries of your research with the ultimate combination of speed, sensitivity and flexibility in a turnkey solution. 

The ImageXpress Micro Confocal High-Content Imaging System lets you capture publication-grade images with the widest range of objective lenses, allowing you to work at the resolution appropriate for your biology, including whole organism, thick tissues, 3D spheroid assays, and cellular or intracellular events—at a speed you would only expect from widefield screening.

The ImageXpress Micro Confocal system combines the ability to capture high-quality images without sacrificing throughput, reliability, or flexibility. Quickly and easily switch between confocal and widefield imaging modes to satisfy the specific throughput and sensitivity needs for your assay. Additionally, you can choose from a range of available confocal disk geometries to select the best fit for your experiments.

Combined with MetaXpress® High-Content Image Acquisition and Analysis Software, the ImageXpress Micro Confocal system provides you with a complete multi-dimensional, high-throughput screening solution to help you discover your next landmark scientific breakthrough.

For researchers looking to expand their laboratory’s capabilities, the ImageXpress Micro Confocal system leverages large field-of-view optics to map macro structures with minimal tiling. In addition, querying of large cell populations is accelerated, speeding up the characterization of highly heterogeneous samples or identification of rare sub-populations.

Built on over 30 years of cell-based imaging experience, the ImageXpress Micro Confocal High-Content Imaging system is engineered for performance to reliably accelerate the pace of your research.

Match acquisition mode to your assay needs with multiple confocal geometries and widefield mode.

Quickly and easily switch between widefield and several confocal disk configurations, including an exclusive slit option, to capture high quality images at high-throughput speeds.

Capture publication-quality images without sacrificing throughput using our proprietary AgileOptix™ technology.

Our proprietary AgileOptix™ technology provides increased sensitivity resulting in high contrast and high uniformity of intensity and shape across a large field of view.

Acquire statistically relevant data faster with large field of view and >3 log dynamic range.

Featuring a high-quantum efficiency sCMOS detector and power-optimized solid-state light source, the ImageXpress Micro Confocal system delivers the images you need at the throughput of widefield systems.

Expand your research capabilities with available options.

Available options include Environmental Control (temperature, humidity and CO2 control for multi-day live-cell experiments), Transmitted Light True Phase contrast option and Fluidics (on board disposable pipetting).

Investigate every aspect of a cellular pathway

Combined with MetaXpress High-Content Image Acquisition and Analysis Software, the ImageXpress Micro Confocal system is a complete solution that enables you to interpret your images, understand your data, and explore new ideas—in both widefield and confocal modes.

Automatically acquire images 1-100x objective magnification in slides and multi-well plates up to 1536-well format. Acquire >160,000 wells per day at 4x magnification with the system’s unique multi-well crop feature. A 10X objective allows the entire well of a 1536-well plate to be imaged in one field-of-view while increasing magnifications allows the resolution of fine detail for analysis of subcellular events.

High resolution and dynamic range

Our proprietary AgileOptix™ technology, provides increased sensitivity resulting in high contrast and high uniformity of intensity and shape across a large field of view. This optical path also achieves near-theoretical Z resolution. Featuring a high-quantum efficiency sCMOS detector and power-optimized solid-state light source, the ImageXpress Micro Confocal system delivers the images you need at the throughput of widefield systems.

Quickly and easily switch between confocal and widefield imaging modes to satisfy the specific throughput and sensitivity needs for your assay. Additionally, you can choose from a range of available confocal disk geometries to select the best fit for your experiments, including an exclusive slit option to capture high quality images at high-throughput speeds.

3D Imaging

  • Monitor cell health kinetics under environmental control for hours or days
  • Reconstruct 3D spheroids with rapid z-stack imaging
  • Study spheroids with readily available plates and straightforward imaging workflow
  • Acquire from a variety of multi-well plate formats up to 1536 including unusual formats developed for 3D assays including round bottom and trans-well plates 

Further Information

Thick samples

  • Image neurons or stem cells grown on 3D matrices that can make focusing on the cells of interest a challenge  
  • Capture difficult-to-image thick tissue sections (at least 20 µm thick) that produce high-background fluorescence when stained
  • Analyze 3D samples by collecting a stack of crisp images in the Z-plane in as small as 100 nm increments

neuronal imaging assays analysed with high content analysis

Neuronal processes can be measured and quantified with a Neurite Outgrowth Application Module in MetaXpress Software.


laser scanning confocal system improves imaging of thick tissue sections

Mouse Intestine section stained for nuclei (green), filamentous actin prevalent in the brush border (red), goblet cells (blue)

Further Information

Visit the MetaXpress Software Application Modules to learn more about analysis for neurite outgrowth and angiogenesis application modules.

Whole Organism Imaging

  • Image an entire well
  • Keep organisms in focus for the duration of experiment
  • Perform sophisticated analysis of images and create time-lapse videos

Live Cells

  • Monitor cell growth, death, differentiation, and migration; viral or bacterial invasion, cancer metastasis, chemotaxis, drug toxicity, or translocation
  • Observe rapid kinetic cellular responses over a span of several days using fluorescent or unlabeled cells kept in an environmental control chamber, together with a brightfield microscope, and on-board fluid addition capabilities


Above, see a 16-hour time-course movie of HeLa cells expressing Cell Cycle Chromobody (R). Notice that the cells are undergoing normal cell division while being imaged in confocal mode. In G1, the cells have a homogeneous fluorescence signal. During S phase, signal accumulates in the nucleus with formation of foci. In G2, the morphology returns to homogenous and the cell divides.


  • Determine the mechanisms of action for the research of cancer, neurological disorders, viral infection, and other diseases with compound or RNAi screening 
  • Quantitate multiplexed cellular responses, such as apoptosis, cell cycle, micronuclei, neurite outgrowth, angiogenesis, intracellular translocation, endocytosis, and cell signaling
  • Detect one to four fluorescent markers along with the ability to resolve their colocalization

Transfluor assay taken with confocal high content screening system

Unstimulated transfluor-expressing cells wtih cytosolic distribution of beta arrestin GFP. Nuclei stained in blue, mitochondria in red.

Transfluor assay taken with confocal high content screening system

Stimulated transfluor-expressing cells with beta-arrestin GFP that has redistributed to vesicles. Nuclei stained in blue, Mitochondria in red.

Further Information

Visit the MetaXpress Software Application Modules to learn more about analysis for cell health, cell cycle, micronuclei, neurite outgrowth, angiogenesis, translocation, multi-wavelength cell scoring and granularity.

RNA Interference

  • Interrogate large-scale RNAi libraries
  • Measure critical events including apoptosis, cell cycle, micronuclei, neurite outgrowth, angiogenesis, intracellular translocation, endocytosis, cell signaling, and multi-wavelength cell scoring. 
  • Automatically identify, segment, and analyze biological phenotypes using validated software modules


Images of control cells showing DNA damage detected by H2AX phosphorylation. The positive control (bottom) clearly shows a higher percentage of cells with DNA damage (green) compared to total cells (red) in the well.


At higher magnification assays DNA foci indicating damage as marketed by H2AX phosporylation (green) and 53BP1 (red) are more easily resolved with confocal imaging.

Further Information

Stem Cell Research

  • Measure stem cell growth and differentiation in layers or colonies with the system's widefield focusing capabilities, brightfield imaging option, and environmental control chamber for extended period of time
  • Accurately track cell processes, colony size or number across multiple fields of view with unique stitching algorithm and precise plate stage movements
  • Gain insight into the complex molecular and genetic signaling events that underlie cell proliferation and differentiation
  • Accurately measure nuronal process across multiple fields of view using unique stitching algorithm with precise stage movements
  • Analyze 3D samples by capturing an image stack in the Z-plane within each field of view and collapse it into a best-focus image or view the sample in 3D
Differentiated neurons imaged in a 96-well
plate at 10x magnification with three different
fluorescent markers

Further Information

Homogeneous Binding Assay

  • Multiplex different cells in the same plate well
  • Run assays with adherent cells, suspension cells, or beads
  • Detect fluorescent labels at any wavelength
  • Greater than 5 fold improved sensitivity in antibody binding assays in confocal over widefield

Click here to learn more about MetaXpress Application Modules that enable some common HCS assays.

Molecular Devices brings the image acquisition and analysis for ImageXpress systems under one common platform to streamline workflow, offering a truly end-to-end solution for high-content screening.

MetaXpress® High-Content Image Acquisition & Analysis Software

  • MetaXpress Software Application Modules: turnkey solutions for your 100 most common analysis routines
  • MetaXpress Software Custom Modules: flexible toolbox for advanced assays
  • MetaXpress Software Journals: powerful macros to analyze unique applications

AcuityXpress High-Content Informatics Software further analyzes, visualizes, and mines data.

MetaXpress® PowerCore High-Content Distributed Image Analysis Software dramatically accelerates analysis speed in a high-throughput environment.

MDCStore Data Management Solution provides users with a validated solution to securely access, manage, and depoly a high-content analysis environment.

The ImageXpress Micro Confocal High-Content Imaging System is flexible with several configurable options. Its modular design enables configuration at time of purchase or it can be upgraded in the field.

For more information on product configurations and pricing, please click here.


The ImageXpress Micro Confocal system can be purchased in 3 configurations:

  • Single-disk configuration configured with 60 micron confocal pinhole and widefield modes
  • High-throughput dual disk configuration with 60 micron confocal pinhole, unique and exclusive 50 micron slit confocal and widefield modes
  • High-resolution dual disk configuration with 60 micron confocal pinhole, 42 micron pinhole confocal and widefield modes

Transmitted Light

The ImageXpress Micro Confocal High-Content Imaging System enables contrast imaging of unstained samples to monitor cells that may be overly sensitive to the effects of fluorescent labels or need to be monitored over time without intervention. The Phase Contrast option can be used to scrutinize cell quality before and after biochemical assays, or combined with fluorescent applications and environmental control to examine multiple parameters at once.


  • Phase optics enable high contrast, label-free cellular imaging to be performed at a variety of magnifications (4x -60x)
  • Overlay fluorescent images on unstained images gives the user another fluorophore independent visualization of cell morphology


  • Nikon 100w Pillar Diascopic Illuminator with TE-C ELWD Condenser
  • The condenser is 0.3NA with 65 mm WD and PhL, Ph1, and Ph2 selectable phase rings
  • Phase Contrast option is compatible with Environmental Control, but not with Fluidics Option

Environmental Control

The Environmental Control Option for the ImageXpress Micro Confocal High-Content Imaging System can be configured to mimic conditions within a laboratory incubator (temperature control, gas mixture and humidity) to keep cells alive for long periods of time, making high-content screening kinetic and time lapse experiments a reality.


  • User-defined premixed air allows researchers to select atmospheric conditions most appropriate for their cell type (e.g. 5% or 10% CO2).
  • Temperature control of the sample plate helps maintain physiological environment.
  • Humidity regulation is maintained above sample plate to minimize evaporation of media and extend measurement time.
  • The high resolution stage synergizes with the Environmental Control option of the ImageXpress Micro Confocal system to enable fast kinetic imaging of live cells or long time lapse monitoring of each well in a plate for hours or days


  • Accepts pressurized air from premixed tanks
  • Temperature maintained in top half of instrument: 30-40°C ± 0.5°C
  • Temperature measured near the sample plate is recorded and stored with each image in software
  • Humidity maintained above plate; evaporation < 0.5 μL/well/hour (96- or 384-well formats)
  • Compatible with Fluidics or Phase Contrast Transmitted Light options


During assay development, the Fluidics option facilitates compound addition and cell washing to characterize potency or to determine incubation times for higher throughput fixed time point assays. 


  • Configurable pipettor can accommodate 96- or 384-well pipette tips, compound plates and sample plates giving you the flexibility to change assay formats when you wish
  • Tip exchange option minimizes cross contamination often seen with non-contact, piezo- or pin tool-based fluidics systems
  • Integrated pipettor (3-200 µL) facilitates media replenishment or compound addition to individual wells within a microplate. Media replenishment can extend the time frame of long time lapse experiments and overcome any evaporation that may occur over time
  • External Filter Wheel option can be combined with liquid handling to monitor dual-excitation wavelength intracellular ion concentration measurements (e.g. calcium, pH) to provide greater insight to ion exchange and intracellular function


  • Single-channel pipetting
  • Dispenses volumes from 3 μL to 200 μL 
  • ±1 from 3 μL to 20 μL ±5% from 20 μL to 200 μL
  • Holds two compound or media plates with optional heating
  • 96- or 384-well format FLIPR® tips
  • Comes standard with Environmental Control option
  • Not compatible with Phase Contrast Transmitted Light option


  • Unlike other spinning disk confocal systems, the ImageXpress Micro Confocal system overcomes both sensitivity, reliability and throughput concerns by combining a powerfully bright solid-state light engine technology, our proprietary spinning disc technology with custom optics, and high quantum efficiency scientific CMOS sensor to give you the performance you need without any possibility for fluorophore crosstalk.  


  • High quantum efficiency, 16 bit scientific CMOS


  • Linear encoded voice coil driven X,Y, and Z stages have < 100 nm resolution


  • Variety of Nikon 1x- 100x air and oil immersion lenses are supported.

Standard Filter Options

The ImageXpress Micro Confocal system is equipped with an 8 position emission wheel and 5 position dichroic Filter Wheel standard.

To expand your system's capabilties, the following options are available for purchase.

Part Number
Dichroic (nm) EM (nm)
DAPI, Alexa Fluor 350, AMCA, BFP, Hoechst, LysoSensor Blue, Marina Blue, Pacific Blue, and sgBFP
409 nm
447/60 nm 
GFP, Cy2, CyQuant, DiO, EGFP, sgGFP, wtGFP (non-UV excitation), YOYO-1, YO-PRO-1, FITC, FAM, Alexa Fluor 488, BODIPY, Calcein, Fluo-4, MitoTracker Green, Oregon Green, Rhodamine 110, rsGFP (red-shifted GFP, S65T)
506 nm
536/40 nm
Cy3, DsRed, Alexa Fluor 555, Calcium Orange, LysoTracker Yellow, MitoTracker Orange, Phycoerythrin (PE), Rhodamine Phallicidine, and TAMRA, TRITC, Alexa Fluor 546, 5-TAMRA, Alexa Fluor 532, SpectrumOrange, BODIPY TMR, DiI, POPO-3, PO-PRO-3, Rhodamine  
562 nm
593/40 nm
Texas Red®, mCherry, 5-ROX, Alexa Fluor 568 & 594, Calcium Crimson, Cy3.5, HcRed, Propidium Iodide, and MitoTracker Red  
593 nm
624/40 nm
Cy5, SpectrumFRed™, Alexa Fluor 647 & 660, APC (Allophycocyanin), BODIPY 650/665, DiD, SYTO Red, DRAQ5, TOTO-3, and TO-PRO-3  
660 nm
692/40 nm

Additional filters as well as custom configurations are available upon request. 
Filter specifications are current as of 9/1/2015. 

Space And Weight Specifications

ImageXpress Micro Confocal system configuration
W x D x H
ImageXpress Micro Base Unit System
21 x 34 x 19 (Inches)
53 x 86 x 48 (Centimeters)
230 (Lbs)
104 (Kg)
Transmitted Light and Live Cell (Environmental Control)
21 x 34 x 32 (Inches)
53 x 86 x 81 (Centimeters)
240 (Lbs)
109 (Kg)
Live Cell (Environmental Control) and Fluidics
21 x 34 x 42 (Inches)
53 x 86 x 107 (Centimeters)
315 (Lbs)
143 (Kg)
Transmitted Light
21 x 34 x 32 (Inches)
53 x 86 x 81 (Centimeters)
240 (Lbs)
109 (Kg)
Live Cell (Environmental Control)
21 x 34 x 19 (Inches)
53 x 86 x 48 (Centimeters)
230 (Lbs)
104 (Kg)

Related Collateral


Application Notes:

Though the technical specifications of the ImageXpress Micro Confocal system are different than that of our legacy ImageXpress system products, the widfefield mode covers the same applications as the legacy widefield only products.


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Number of Citations*: 803

Latest Citations:

For a complete list of citations, please click here.

Brief Report: Isogenic Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Lines From an Adult With Mosaic Down Syndrome Model Accelerated Neuronal Ageing and …

A Murray, A Letourneau, C Canzonetta, E Stathaki… - Stem …, 2015 - Wiley Online Library
... Image capture and quantification were performed using automated multiparametric
analysis on the ImageXpress Micro XL (Molecular Devices) wide-field high content
imaging system, and data were analyzed using MetaMorph software. ...

Behavioral and pharmacological characteristics of bortezomib-induced peripheral neuropathy in rats

S Yamamoto, T Kawashiri, H Higuchi… - Journal of …, 2015 - Elsevier
... F-actin and nuclear staining were visualized using ImageXpress Micro XL (Molecular Devices,
LLC ... CA, USA), and neurite length was measured by analysis software (MetaXpressMolecular
Devices, LLC). 2.9. ... myelin sheath thickness, and g-ratio (the ratio of axon diameter to ...

Identification of N‐arachidonoyl dopamine as a highly biased ligand at cannabinoid CB1 receptors

WJ Redmond, EE Cawston, NL Grimsey… - British journal of …, 2015 - Wiley Online Library
... CB1 receptor cell surface expression Surface hCB1 expression was determined utilising a live
cell antibody feeding technique and quantified via the ImageXpress Micro XLS automated
fluorescent microscope (Molecular Devices) as previously described (Grimsey et al., 2008). ...

cAMP and EPAC Signaling Functionally Replace OCT4 During Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Reprogramming

AL Fritz, MM Adil, SR Mao, DV Schaffer - Molecular Therapy, 2015 -
... The wells were imaged with the ImageXpress Micro (Molecular Devices) and analyzed with
MetaXpress software. ... The SOX2 and EdU staining was imaged with the ImageXpress Micro
(Molecular Devices) and analyzed with MetaXpress software. Quantitative RT-PCR. ...

A genome-wide RNAi screening method to discover novel genes involved in virus infection

D Panda, S Cherry - Methods, 2015 - Elsevier
... Plate sealing adhesive film. 2.1.5. Automated imaging and image processing.
ImageXpress Micro (Molecular Devices). Metaxpress software (Molecular Devices).
2.2. Acquiring images using the ImageXpress Micro and image analysis. ...

Triphenyl phosphate-induced developmental toxicity in zebrafish: Potential role of the retinoic acid receptor

GM Isales, RA Hipszer, TD Raftery, A Chen… - Aquatic Toxicology, 2015 - Elsevier
... Micro system was maintained between 25 and 27 °C by removing panels on both sides of the
ImageXpress Micro system and blowing air from left to right through the ImageXpress Micro with
... Within MetaXpress software (Molecular Devices, Sunnyvale, CA, USA ...

High Throughput Characterization of Adult Stem Cells Engineered for Delivery of Therapeutic Factors for Neuroprotective Strategies

AD SharmaPA Brodskiy, EM Petersen… - JoVE (Journal of …, 2015 -
... Equine serum, Hyclone (Logan, UT), SH3007403, ImageXpress MicroMolecular devices
(Sunnyvale, CA), ImageXpress micro, High content screening system. MetaXpress 4.0, Molecular
devices (Sunnyvale, CA), MetaXpress 4.0, Image acquisition and analysis software. References ...

[HTML] A Genome-Wide siRNA Screen in Mammalian Cells for Regulators of S6 Phosphorylation

A Papageorgiou, J Rapley, JP Mesirov, P Tamayo… - PloS one, 2015 -
... cells were imaged on the High Content automated Imaging microscope ImageXpress Micro
System (IXM) (Molecular Devices, at 10X magnification (Fig.
1) and analyzed using the MetaXpress software program (Molecular Devices Inc). ...

Fibroblast activation protein-α-expressing fibroblasts promote the progression of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

T Kawase, Y Yasui, S Nishina, Y Hara… - BMC …, 2015 -
... Plates containing the cells were scanned with the ImageXpress Micro Screening System
(Molecular Devices, Tokyo, Japan). ... analyses, the intensity of the integrated DNA dye was assessed
using the cell-cycle application module (MetaXpressMolecular Devices), as described ...

Chemical analysis of Karenia papilionacea

N Fowler, C Tomas, D Baden, L Campbell… - Toxicon, 2015 - Elsevier
... plate was then returned to the 37 °C incubator for 30 min before imaging on an Image Xpress
Micro system equipped ... Cytotoxicity of each fraction was determined using the ImageXpress Micro
(Molecular Devices, Sunnyvale, CA) using the multi-wavelength cell scoring macro. ...

* as of October 27, 2015. Source: Google Scholar.  Search results include "ImageXpress Micro" and "MetaXpress".  

Specifications for the ImageXpress Micro Confocal (widefield mode) are based upon those of the ImageXpress Micro System.  Applications will apply to both systems.