Heating and freezing stages have brought many benefits to scientists wishing to visualise a sample under different temperature regimes. However, sample access has usually been restricted due to the confines of a standard upright microscope. The objective lens is usually very close to the stage making the loading and unloading of samples quite inconvenient. In cases where a sample has to be clamped in place within the stage, e.g. with Linkam’s TST350 optical tensile stage, working with an upright microscope can be impractical.
Linkam have addressed this challenge in the production of their New Optical Imaging Station. Here, the viewing optics are mounted in a fully retractable arm allowing complete unrestricted access to the sample. The arm has mounts for one or two standard high resolution microscope objectives enabling either lens to be quickly and easily selected. With most stages allowing study using both transmitted and reflected light, the new Imaging Station also contains a long working distance condenser with a 10x phase ring and polarizer which is mounted above an adjustable diaphragm in the base. A 100W standard microscope light source is used and Kohler illumination can be readily set up and left for future work. The Imaging Station is completed with a choice of camera attached using a standard C-mount fixture.
Commenting on the new Optical Imaging Station design, Linkam Director, Vince Kamp, says feedback from users has lead to the production of the new stage. “Many of our users are not full-time microscopists and hence just want an experimental set-up to enable them to efficiently study their specimens in a thermally controlled environment.”
Linkam, with the well-proven philosophy of listening to customer needs in the design of new products, see the Optical Imaging Station as a valuable addition in materials characterisation to meet the multi-disciplinary requirements of the modern analysis and R&D laboratories.