In life sciences, precise sample handling and manipulation is the most important part of day-to-day operations at a microscopy workstation; therefore, the equipment used must be extremely precise and reliable.
Microscope Stages and Manipulators
To meet these requirements, SmarAct has developed microscope stages that not only allow the specimen to be positioned in two dimensions, but also enable the mounting of micro-manipulation systems for in situ sample manipulation. The microscope stages themselves are based on compact linear stages and allow long travel ranges with nanometer precision and highest closed-loop repeatability.
In addition to the standard universal object slide holder, unified well plate holders and petri dish holders are available. For easy and fast exchange of slides and coverslips in high throughput experiments, a magnetic holder is also available.
Micro-manipulation systems are very versatile devices when it comes to handle pipettes, micro-knives, micro-grippers, micro-injectors or other mechanical or electrical probes. Our portfolio includes several different manipulators with three and four degrees of freedom for the most common tasks.
Larger stages support not just one, but two or more micro-manipulators, providing even more degrees of freedom for specimen manipulation.
All manipulators can be moved completely independently and can of course be equipped with different tools and axis configurations.
Compatibility and Adaptability
The base plate of the microscope stages is breabboard compatible. Adapters for standard inserts ensure compatibility with common manufacturers. Cover plates and the stages themselves are highly customizable. You are always welcome to contact us to discuss adapting our stages to your specific microscope model or custom designed setup.
Control Systems and Software
The XY stage and the micro-manipulators are controlled by SmarAct’s MCS2 Control System. The MCS2 allows to control up to 18 single positioning stages. This makes even highly versatile setups consisting of one XY stage and four micro-manipulators with four degrees of freedom each possible. A special driving mode, called “quiet mode”, eliminates the typical driving sound of piezo-driven stages by shifting the driving frequency out of the human hearing range. The system and the manipulators can be controlled by different hand control devices with tactile buttons and joysticks or with SmarAct’s precision tool commander software on your own PC. Integration of the XY system and the manipulators into your own control software can be realized with the help of the supplied software development kits which include documentation, libraries and programming examples for C/C++, Python and LabVIEW™. Based on the control interface, the microscopy stage can easily be integrated into existing software frameworks. Even an integration into Micro-Manager, an open source software package for microscope image acquisition and device control by Open Imaging Inc., is available.