Microscopy & Microtechniques

  • A Revolution in Fluorescence Illumination

A Revolution in Fluorescence Illumination

Aug 25 2006 Read 948 Times

Mercury Vapour and Xenon burners have been in use to provide fluorescence illumination for many decades with little change or improvement in their performance. Until now. Prior is proud to introduce the Lumen system which delivers the first significant advances in fluorescence illumination since mercury lamps were introduced.

Available in two configurations the key change is a move to a metal halide bulb which provides a similar spectrum to mercury but with significantly brighter peaks specifically in the 480nm to 490nm region, critical for many commonly used fluorophores such as GFP and FITC where it produces up to 25% more light. This bulb also offers tremendous life span, up to 1500 hours under optimum conditions, compared to no more than 100 hours for a typical HBO50, 50 Watt mercury burner.

The light is coupled to the microscope via a liquid light guide which homogenises the illumination as it passes through, ensuring beautifully even illumination and eliminating the need for complex bulb alignment when it does finally require changing. Another key advantage of this system is that it removes the lamp house from direct physical contact with the microscope, dramatically reducing heat transfer and thermal drift, essential for stability in long term experiments.

Just in case all of this light is surplus to requirements Prior have built into the standard Lumen 200 a variable aperture, manually controlled shutter to permit total blanking or attenuation of the light intensity through a series of progressively smaller apertures.

Taking all of this to the next level is the unique Lumen 200PRO which shares the same basic design but adds a couple of very significant additional features to facilitate automation of fluorescence experiments. Firstly, the unit is configured with an internal six position motorised filter wheel for controlling the excitation wavelength in use. This removes a very significant source of vibration from the microscope reducing capture times and helping ensure sharp images. Secondly, the manual shutter featured in the Lumen 200 is motorised allowing automated fast shuttering and variable light attenuation.

The Lumen 200PRO is controlled through Priors' market leading range of OptiScan, ProScan and PCI motor controllers meaning that total automation of the microscope can be achieved through one single supplier whose hardware is supported by most leading imaging software packages.

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