ImageJ – Image Analysis in the Life Sciences


ImageJ is a Java-based image processing program developed by the Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation at the National Institutes of Health. Its main purpose is to allow researchers to perform image analysis. In addition, it provides a framework for external software suites to be easily integrated. Consequently, it has gained wide acceptance in the life sciences community.

Main purpose

ImageJ is an open-source software package for image processing. It is used in a variety of scientific disciplines, including life sciences, astronomy, fluid dynamics, computer vision and more. The latest version, ImageJ 2.0, has many new features, as well as a redesign of the data model, which supports arbitrarily large N-dimensional datasets.

To get the most from the program, users can leverage a plethora of tools, including plugins. These plugins add functionality to the program, such as de-speckling, smoothing, particle analysis and more. Users can also make their own custom plugins. In addition to providing access to the program’s UI, ImageJ has an online wiki that users can link to their personal web space.

The main purpose of ImageJ is to facilitate collaboration among researchers from different scientific fields. The program is designed to be modular, allowing for easy customization and extension. This is done by separating the data model from the user interface.


ImageJ is an open-source image processing tool. It offers users an extensive array of tools. The modularity of the software allows users to improve on existing methods in a case-by-case manner.

The platform is based on a container model, which provides a way to store, manipulate and display images. Unlike the naive design used by many software projects, the services in the container are dynamically initialized at runtime. This provides users with the ability to re-use code from other tools, such as KNIME, as well as a more flexible and extensible development model.

In addition, the interface supports a number of scientific disciplines. For example, it provides the ability to convert to Insight ToolKit (ITK) images. There is also an animation service, which manages animations.

Another important goal of ImageJ2 is to provide a strong and robust N-dimensional support for image data. N-dimensional images increase the computational requirements for analysis routines. Consequently, the algorithms for handling the data must be architected to scale to large amounts of data.

Integration with external software suites

One of the most popular scientific image analysis libraries, ImageJ, is also one of the most popular software suites for integration with external software. However, this combination can create challenges. In particular, updating and managing the numerous plugins used by ImageJ requires a lot of manual work. And the process is often error-prone.

With the introduction of ImageJ 2, the Lab for Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI) hopes to simplify this task. The new software framework supports multiple user interfaces, enables developers to create new tools, and facilitates rapid development. All of this is done while avoiding the common naive design of many other software projects.

ImageJ 2.0 is built from modular components. This design facilitates use as a library, simplifies writing extensions, and allows for future enhancements. Moreover, the architecture of ImageJ 2.x avoids the use of a static singleton pattern, which is not realistic in today’s modern computing environment.

ImageJ Ops is the core component of ImageJ 2. It is a powerful, highly-reusable library of image processing algorithms. There are more than 350 operations included in the Ops library, including marching cubes, 3D mesh generation, and type conversion.

Impact on life sciences

ImageJ, a free, open-source image analysis tool, is a highly-used software platform used for many aspects of life sciences research. It has a large community and provides a wide array of tools, allowing researchers from diverse scientific disciplines to collaborate.

A growing number of bioimaging laboratories are using ImageJ. The open source, modular design allows developers to use the tool in a variety of ways. In addition, the interface is easily customizable to integrate new functionality. Users can also develop new applications or share plugins.

As a result, a growing number of people have joined the development of the project. Contributors include both scientists and amateur programmers. These users have contributed macros, plugins and patches to the project. Many of the developers are working in bioimaging laboratories. Several of them are part of the SciJava effort. This collaboration of projects aims to benefit both new and existing users.

SciJava also includes a plugin framework, which allows developers to pick and choose the pieces they need. The SciJava framework, including the KNIME Analytics Platform and ImageJ, has been able to meet complex end-to-end demands in several communities.