The Automatic Microscope - Shutters, Filter Wheels, Focus, Stage Control...

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Tony Rook
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The Automatic Microscope - Shutters, Filter Wheels, Focus, Stage Control...

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The Automatic Microscope - Shutters, Filter Wheels, Focus, Stage Control, and Illumination Systems

Link Reference:
http://www.microscopyu.com/articles/livecellimaging/automaticmicroscope.html

Introduction:

Motorized microscope components and accessories enable the investigator to automate live-cell image acquisition and are particularly useful for time-lapse experiments that range in timescale intervals from milliseconds to tens or hundreds of minutes. A wide variety of aftermarket auxiliary components, such as electromechanical shutters, microprocessor-controlled filter changers (filter wheels), motorized stages, and axial focus control mechanisms can be retrofitted to a research grade microscope and interactively controlled by a companion workstation computer using commercially available image acquisition software packages. However, it should be noted that assembling a fully automated and optimized multi-dimension optical imaging system is an extremely complex task.

The Automatic Microscope
Shutters, Filter Wheels, Focus, Stage Control, and Illumination Systems

Motorized microscope components and accessories enable the investigator to automate live-cell image acquisition and are particularly useful for time-lapse experiments that range in timescale intervals from milliseconds to tens or hundreds of minutes. A wide variety of aftermarket auxiliary components, such as electromechanical shutters, microprocessor-controlled filter changers (filter wheels), motorized stages, and axial focus control mechanisms can be retrofitted to a research grade microscope and interactively controlled by a companion workstation computer using commercially available image acquisition software packages. However, it should be noted that assembling a fully automated and optimized multi-dimension optical imaging system is an extremely complex task.

A variety of commercial systems are available (at very high cost), and these are often worth the investment for multi-user core facilities. Alternatively, costs can be reduced by at least 50 percent by assembling a system from scratch, but this effort should be restricted to laboratories that possess sufficient expertise and experience in optical microscopy. The primary problem in automatic microscope configuration is the integration of hardware and software components purchased from different sources into a well-coordinated, efficient system. Newer systems from the major microscope manufacturers are becoming increasingly better equipped with more advanced high speed shutters, axial focus control systems, filter changers, and illumination source and intensity controls, as well as other motorized components that are fully integrated to perform superbly with proprietary software.