DIYbio:Notebook/Open Gel Box 2.0/Transilluminator

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Norman Wang <wangn(at)>


For fluorescing cyanine type DNA dyes, using off the shelf light source and excitation/emission filters. DIY units should be significantly cheaper depending on selection of parts, labor, and design.

Commercial Units

  • E-Gel® Safe Imager™ Real-Time Transilluminator USD $545.00
  • Safe Imager™ blue light transilluminator USD $1135.00
  • Dark Reader transilluminators
    • 14 x 21cm USD $695.00
    • 30 x 46cm USD $1750.00
    • 10 x 25cm USD $1250.00

DNA Dyes To Test

  • Biotium
    • GelGreen
    • GelRed
  • LabSupplyMall
    • GR Safe
    • GR Safe II
  • Invitrogen
    • SYBR Green
    • SYBR Safe
  • Lonza
    • GelStar
  • Any Company
    • EtBR

Filter Wavelength Testing

Gel Box 20 Filter Testing.jpg

Spectraphotometer readings of various Tiffen glass, colored acrylic pre and post light filters. Image under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 License

Gel Box 20 Filter Testing 2.jpg

Empirical testing of filter for cyanine type DNA dyes. Performance of each filter can clearly be seen between #1-#2 and #3 orange emission filter. Image under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 License

Acrylic Edge Fluorescence.jpg

However colored acrylic #2 has visible unwanted fluorescence along the edge. Image under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 License