Experimental facilities & confocal microscope information
Located in Emerson Hall 347, 350, & 360 -- see photos of
Lab Home --
Experimental facilities --
We can do lots of cool things. Our facility is always upgrading
(shopping), and our capabilities currently include:
- Confocal microscopy:
Attached to a Leica inverted microscope
30 images per second (512 x 512 pixels); up to
400 images/s for reduced field of view
Ultra-fast 3D acquisition: 256 x 256 x 100 pixel 3D image, 1
- ThermoNoran "Oz" confocal.
Attached to a Leica
30 image per second (512 x 480 pixels); up
to 240 images/s for reduced field of view
Working a little
imperfectly at the moment (March 2013)
- If you are interested in using this instrument, contact Eric
here to learn how a confocal microscope works.
- Regular, brightfield microscopy:
Magnifications from 1.6x to 160x. (The best resolution we can
get is 0.2 microns.) See table below for more information on our
lenses. We have both inverted and upright microscopes.
We also have a rotation stage: we can rotate the sample
in a horizontal plane while we're looking at it.
- Differential interference
contrast (DIC) microscopy:
This technique is
looking at thin samples, or samples with low contrast.
- Fluorescence microscopy:
this, as they have
all sorts of clever ways to make odd things
Physicists (like us) like using boring old fluorescent particles.
(See our links page for sources of
- Temperature control:
We have a
system for the microscope, which works
from room temperature up to about 40 degrees C. We also have a
water bath which can be used to control temperatures.
- High speed camera:
We have a Phantom V9.1 camera with 6 GB of memory. This is a
12-bit camera capable of 1632x1200 pixels at 1016 frames per
second, and 96x8 pixels at 153,846 frames per second, as well as
other ranges in between.
- Langmuir trough:
We have a Kibron Langmuir trough.
- Pipette puller:
We have a pipette puller and a microforge, suitable for making
glass pipettes with tip sizes down to a few microns.
- Digitizing video tapes:
just microscopy, we also have a nice system for digitizing
video tapes. We can also digitize video signals straight from the
- Online frame-grabbing:
We can store video images directly onto hard disk at video rate
without losing any images. The files are big (one minute of
data fills a CD - 650 MB!) but we have
CD and DVD burners too.
We use IDL to analyze our images.
We have several Linux computers to do this with, and access to
the physics department's Beowulf cluster.
The confocal also
comes with some adequate (but not great) software for
3D visualization, which helped make the pictures shown below.
Our favorite analysis technique is
tracking the motion of individual colloidal particles. Best
of all, we can do this for several thousand particles
simultaneously, in three dimensions.
- Particle synthesis:
We have started making fluorescent colloidal PMMA.
- Miscellaneous Gadgets:
These include a refractometer, several viscometers, and several
simple cameras. We also have a nice Hamamatsu video enhancement box.
Microscope objectives that we have
|1.6x / 0.05 air||-||-
||-||6 um||3.4 mm||A|
|5x / 0.15 air||-||-
||-||3.3 um||12 mm||A|
|10x / 0.22 air||10 um||600 x 560
||1.3 um||1.3 um||5.8 mm||-|
|10x / 0.40 air||10 um||600 x 560
||1.3 um||0.7 um||2.2 mm||-|
|10x / 0.40 oil||10 um||600 x 560
||1.3 um||0.7 um||0.36 mm||-|
|20x / 0.40 air||?||300 x 280
||0.65 um||0.7 um||1.9 - 3.2 mm||B|
|20x / 0.70 multi (oil)||10 um||300 x 280
||0.65 um||0.4 um||250 um||C|
|40x / 0.55 air||?? um||150 x 140
||0.327 um||0.5 um||1.9 - 3.3 mm||B|
|40x / 1.25 oil||10 um||150 x 140
||0.327 um||0.23 um||100 um||-|
|63x / 0.70 air||25 um||95 x 89
||0.207 um||0.4 um||1.8 mm||D|
|63x / 1.20 water||15 um||95 x 89
||0.207 um||0.24 um||220 um||E|
|100x / 1.35 oil||25 um||60 x 56
||0.117 um||0.21 um||90 um||-|
|100x / 1.40 oil||25 um||60 x 56
||0.117 um||0.20 um||90 um||F|
- NA is Numerical Aperture.
Theoretical resolution is (wavelength/(2 NA)); the
wavelength assumed above is 568 nm.
- Image size is in (microns x microns).
- Image size and microns/pixel are for a zoom of 1.0; you can
change this with the software (although it doesn't affect
the actual resolution)
- Some objectives have been purchased more recently than
others, I need to update the ?'s in some of the entries for
the newer lenses.
- comment A: our low-magnification lenses
aren't intended for confocal use.
- comment B: These two are long working
distance lenses, and both have correction collars for glass
thicknesses from 0.0 to 2.0 mm.
- comment C: this lens can work with a variety
of immersion fluids, including water, glycerol, and oil. In general,
consider this an oil immersion lens.
- comment D: this is a
long working distance lens. It has a coverslip correction collar,
and can work with coverslips from 0.1 mm thick up to 1.3 mm (in
other words, a microscope slide or petri dish).
- comment E: best for aqueous samples, such
as most biological samples. This is a really nice lens.
- comment F: the "highest power" lens. It
helps if your samples have an index of refraction similar to
oil, in other words, close to n=1.5.
Some 3D confocal pictures:
Habdas, showing colloidal particles
which have formed a gel. Another image of the same sample is
the background for this web page.
Other confocal microscope facilities that Eric Weeks used to
You may notice similarities between those web pages and this
one... I was the webmaster for those confocal facilities, too.