ImageXpress Micro XLS Widefield High-Content Analysis System

Illuminate, magnify, and demystify with widefield high-content imaging for fixed- or live-cell assays

"With the ImageXpress Micro from Molecular Devices, however, we found good image quality and automation that enabled, hands-down, the fastest assays in terms of data acquisition and analysis."

-Haroldo Silva at SENS (read full story)

  • Fewer images per well and shorter imaging time with a field of view that is 3x larger than industry standard
  • A breadth of applications enabled by objectives ranging from 1x to 100x, 0.05 to 0.95 NA for air and 1.4 NA for oil, capturing a variety of cellular and intra-cellular events
  • Accurate stage positioning for capturing high-resolution tiled or stitched images with fully-automated 100 nm resolution voice coil-driven stages, thereby minimizing X-Y stage jitter and ensuring repeatability of extended live-cell experiments
  • Up to 5x faster read times while minimizing photobleaching with industry-leading autofocus using a dedicated 690 nm focus laser and ultra-fast sensors
  • High-throughput screening captures > 10 million cells/hour in a low-resolution, whole-well, 3 color cell scoring application, or > 1 million cells/hour in a high resolution two-color assay
  • Minimized user intervention using automated 5-position filter cube changer, facilitating multiplex assays with up to five filter sets and four objectives for a single experiment
Assay Achieved with Multiple Filters
A 5-color assay achieved with multiple filters. Mouse embryo sections
 Blue = DAPI, Green = FITC, Red = TRITC, Orange = Cy5
  • Modular design allowing for transmitted light, phase contrast, environmental control, fluidics, light source and external filter wheel selection
  • Extensive sample compatibility from slides to plates (6- to 1536-well), thin to thick plate bottoms, glass to plastic, transwell, low profile- and low volume-plates
  • Integrated automation, 24/7 with 3rd party robotic plate handling system, enabling you to schedule multiple runs.

3D imaging of cancer spheroids

  • 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
Time-lapse imaging of prostate cancer spheroids cultured on Cell-able plates and treated with 100nM anti-cancer drug paclitaxel. Cells were stained with caspase-3/7 (green, apoptosis marker) and ethidium homodimer-1 (red, necrosis marker), and imaged every 30 minutes for 72 hours. 

Further Information

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
RNA Interference System
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.

Further Information

  • Using High-Throughput RNAi Screening to Identify Cellular Factors Involved in Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Preparing Assays for Genome-wide RNAi Screening Using High Content Microscopy

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
Stem Cell Research System
Differentiated neurons imaged in a 96 well
plate at 10x magnification with three different
fluorescent markers

Further Information

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
Zebrafish heartbeat taken with ImageXpress Micro XL System with transmitted light module (phase) at 20x. Courtesy of Prof. Tanaka, Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Pharmacogenomics and Pharmacoinformatics, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, Mie, Japan.

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
Watch a 30-hour time-course movie of increasing apoptotic and dead HeLa cells after treatment with 100 µm Etoposide. Blue = Hoechst for all nuclei; Red = Propidium Iodide for dead cells; Green = Nucview488, a fluorescence substrate for Caspase 3 and an apoptosis sensor. Overlaid on a phase contrast image.
Further Information
  • Live Cell Imaging to Investigate the Regulation of Cell Division Timing: Webinar Recording

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
By combining brightfield and fluorescence imaging, cell responses
can be more accurately determined. Image analysis scores the cells
that did not bind to an antibody (yellow) as negative and provides
several data outputs for cells that did specifically bind to an
antibody (dark blue).

Further Information

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 XLS 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 request a quote or contact us

Transmitted Light

The ImageXpress Micro XLS 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. Two available options, Phase Contrast or Brighfield Only, 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 enables 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 XLS 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 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 (3-200µl) 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 3uL to 20uL ±5% from 20uL to 200uL
  • Holds two compound or media plates with optional heating
  • 96- or 384-well format FLIPR® tips
  • Comes standard with Environmental Control option. 
  • Compatible with Brightfield Only Transmitted Light option but not with Phase Contrast Transmitted Light Option. 

Filter Wheel


  • 10 position excitation filter wheel increases the number of preconfigured filters installed with systems to support multi-pass dichroic and emission filters in core facilities with a large variety of fluorophores in use.
  • Fast filter exchange is ideal for exciting ratiometric indicators (e.g. Fura-2; BCECF) to monitor fast cellular responses and real-time kinetics indicative of ion exchange and intracellular signaling.


  • Controller drives one filter wheel
  • Wheel can hold up to 10 excitation filters
  • Switching times of up to 40msec between adjacent filters
  • User adjustable speed allows the speed to load matching
  • Wheel is inserted into the light source so additional space is not required

Light Source


  • Broad spectrum xenon light source is suitable for most fluorescent applications, compatible with filterwheel for ratio imaging (e.g. Fura-2; BCECF) and Multi-passexcitation cubes for additional flexibility
    • Lifetime: 500+ hrs. Wavelength: 340-680 nm
    • Included in ImageXpress Micro Standard Model.
  • Solid state white-light engine with long lifetime, suitable for most fluorescent applications
    • Lifetime: 10,000+ hrs. Wavelength: 38o-680 nm
    • Included in ImageXpress Micro XLS Model
  • Broad spectrum long-life light source is suitable for most fluorescent applications, 10 position filter wheel included for ratio imaging (Fura-2; BCECF). Compatible with multi-pass excitation cubes for additional flexibility and speed.
    • Lifetime: 10,000+ hrs. Wavelength: 340-680 nm
    • Optional upgrade for ImageXpress Standard and XLS model. 
  • Near-IR optimized solid state whitelight engine with long lifetime, suitable for most fluorescent applications enhanced for near-IR application like Cy7
    • Lifetime: 10,000+ hrs. Wavelength: 380-770 nm
    • Optional upgrade for ImageXpress Standard and XLS model
  • Configurable solid state light engine is a customizable excitation source with independent control of up to 7 wavelengths. It expands flexibility of wavelength selection and is compatible with multi-pass excitation cubes for additional throughput and speed.
    • Lifetime: 10,000+ hrs. Wavelength: Customizable 380 nm to NIR
    • Optional upgrade for ImageXpress Standard and XLS model


  • 1.4 megapixel cooled CCD camera (standard model)
  • 4.66 megapixel scientific CMOS (XLS model)


  • 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

Molecular Devices
Part Number
Part Number
Ex (nm) Dichroic (nm) EM (nm)
DAPI, Alexa Fluor 350, AMCA, BFP, Hoechst, LysoSensor Blue, Marina Blue, Pacific Blue, and sgBFP
327-404 (R)
415-950 (T)
CFP, AmCyan, SYTOX Blue, BOBO-1, BO-PRO-1
426-450 (R) 467-950 (T)
GFP, Cy2, CyQuant, DiO, EGFP, sgGFP, wtGFP (non-UV excitation), YOYO-1, YO-PRO-1
350-488 (R)
502-950 (T)
FITC, FAM, Alexa Fluor 488, BODIPY, Calcein, Fluo-4, MitoTracker Green, Oregon Green, Rhodamine 110, rsGFP (red-shifted GFP, S65T)
350-500 (R)
513-950 (T)
YFP, Calcium Green-1, Eosin, Fluo-3, Rhodamine 123
350-512 (R)
528-950 (T)
TRITC, Alexa Fluor 546, 5-TAMRA, Alexa Fluor 532, SpectrumOrange, BODIPY TMR, DiI, POPO-3, PO-PRO-3, Rhodamine
350-555 (R)
569-950 (T)
Cy3, DsRed, Alexa Fluor 555, Calcium Orange, LysoTracker Yellow, MitoTracker Orange, Phycoerythrin (PE), Rhodamine Phallicidine, and TAMRA  
350-555 (R)
569-950 (T)
Texas Red®, mCherry, 5-ROX, Alexa Fluor 568 & 594, Calcium Crimson, Cy3.5, HcRed, Propidium Iodide, and MitoTracker Red  
350-585 (R)
601-950 (T)
Cy5, SpectrumFRed™, Alexa Fluor 647 & 660, APC (Allophycocyanin), BODIPY 650/665, DiD, SYTO Red, DRAQ5, TOTO-3, and TO-PRO-3  
350-651 (R)
Additional filters,such as Fura-2, Cy7 and mCherry, as well as custom configurations are available upon request.
Filter specifications are current as of 1/9/2015. Latest specifications are available at

Space and Weight Specifications

W (in.)
D (in.)
H (in.)
Weight (lbs)
W (cm)
D (cm)
H (cm)
Weight (kg)
ImageXpress Micro Base Unit System
Transmitted Light and Live Cell
Live Cell and Fluidics
Trans. Light
Live Cell

Related Videos

Watch the ImageXpress Micro XLS System high content imaging workflow
Learn how to change filter cubes inside the ImageXpress Micro System
High Throughput Characterization of Adult Stem Cells Engineered for Delivery of Therapeutic Factors for Neuroprotective Strategies

Related Collateral



More Applications


More Posters

Related Webinars

Related eBooks

Product Support

Number of Citations*: 765

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. ...

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 ...

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). ...

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. ...

Copper improves the anti-angiogenic activity of disulfiram through the EGFR/Src/VEGF pathway in gliomas

Y Li, SY Fu, LH Wang, FY Wang, NN Wang, Q Cao… - Cancer Letters, 2015 - Elsevier
... After 3 days, microvessel growth was measured by taking photographs with an
ImageXpress-Micro high content system (magnification, ×100). The number of microvessel
sprouts was measured using MetaXpress software (Molecular Devices). ...

Quantitative Analysis of Transferrin Cycling by Automated Fluorescence Microscopy

DT Hirschmann, CA Kasper, M Spiess - Membrane Trafficking: Second …, 2015 - Springer
... an automated wide-field screening microscope, such as the ImageXpress Micro System (Molecular
Devices). The setup used here consists of the following components: 1. ImageXpress Micro
automated cellular ... 5. MetaXpress software controlling all components of the system. ...

Insect-Derived Cecropins Display Activity against Acinetobacter baumannii in a Whole-Animal High-Throughput Caenorhabditis elegans Model

E JayamaniR Rajamuthiah… - Antimicrobial agents …, 2015 - Am Soc Microbiol
... The worms were then incubated overnight at 25°C. Stained plates were imaged with a Molecular
Devices ImageXpress Micro (Molecular Devices, Sunnyvale, MA) automated microscope with
bright-field and tetramethyl rhodamine isothiocyanate (TRITC) channels (Fig. ...


* as of August 13, 2015. Source: Google Scholar.  Search results include "ImageXpress Micro" and "MetaXpress".