Modular Microscopic Building Blocks (BYOS)
A vast field of applications
The field of applications in microscopy has become incredible vast. Ever since digital cameras, advanced optics, sensors, stepper motors and related software came into play, the field of applications has expanded to such an extent that it takes more than a full time job to cope with all the nuances of technologies which are now at hand for the user.
MicrOptik offers a wide portfolio of Microscopic Building Blocks which can be easily configured to build an instrument dedicated for the application. We refer to these building blocks as BYOS (Build Your Optical System)
3D Digital Microscopy
The evolution of digital video microscopy has been very fast considering the amount of systems which are now available in the market. For a few hundred Euro’s one can nowadays buy a hand held microscope with remarkable good quality. With the rise of microscopy building blocks, which can be bought off the shelf, one can build your own system (BYOS) for prices which are significantly less than some of the renowned brands. The quality of these BYOS systems are superb. Pricewise these BYOS systems are coming more and more in reach for any user. With the appropriate building blocks, one can even construct a high end 3D microscope with a quality which surpasses any other expensive system in the market.
The stand and accessories
One aspect in the choice of building your own 3D system is often neglected. This aspect is as important as all the other components needed to build a 3D microscope. The stand on which the microscope is constructed must be very rugged and must have a mechanism to lift the optics in precise steps in a vertical direction. For that purpose there are complete systems in the market which allow a lens to be lifted in steps less than .1 µm. Such a stand has a base plate with illumination (for bright field 3D, or if needed for 3D fluorescence analysis), with a vertical bar and a spindle motorized slide powered with a high quality stepper motor.
High quality lens
There are many suitable microscopy lenses in the market which are produced by popular lens manufacturers. Any quality lens in this respect can be used which has a certain depth of field and field of view needed for the 3D application. Typical depth of field varies between 2 mm to 10 µm. Typical Field of view varies between 2 mm to 10 µm.
A good quality digital camera with a suitable format fitting the lens, with appropriate software is required to make a 3D microscopic system. There are quite good camera’s in the market which can be used for this purpose. Typical parameters are: USB2 or USB 3, 10 MP, pixel size 1.7 µm.
For applying 3D microscopy (i.e. dark field) additional illumination can be provided through ring or coaxial light. All of these accessories are available in the market.
Controller and PC
Once all the modules are assembled (motorized stand, lens, camera and illumination) the automation needed to generate 3D images is accomplished through a controller which can control the camera, stepper motor and illumination. Such controllers are available in the market
Software which controls the whole system is the final module which is needed to generate the 3D consolidated images. The principles of the 3D reconstruction is based on so called DFD (Depth From Defocus) algorithms. In this process images are acquired and stacked while lifting the lens in the z direction. For each image taken the sharp part is considered and the non sharp part is disregarded. After the acquisition process the z stack is reconstructed. As the steps of the Z axis are known as well as the x and y dimensions of the images, a realistic 3D picture can be generated with realistic dimensions.
3D acquisitions at tilted angles
If only the z-axis is moved, details which are positioned perpendicular towards the z axis, can not be seen and hence not 3D reconstructed. The last couple of years technology has been developed using more sophisticated motorized stands which allow such lateral inspections. Appropriate software can be used to control the system and process the data.