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3D Printed Microscope Chamber Cuts Cost by 50x

by • April 19, 2016 • No Comments

scope1In the complicated world of optical microscopy, the quest is to constantly improve access to samples, for the reason this can yield additional information and conclusive scientific results. One way to improve optical access to samples is through the technique of oil immersion, where a sample and the microscope lens are both immersed in transparent oil with a high refractive index. Whilst this technique appears to yield great results, there’s one problem: the prohibitive cost of a microscope chamber that holds down the glass coverslip and contains the oil at the same time. To address this cost, the University of New South Wales (UNSW), that uses one of these microscopes in their lab, went ahead and had one 3D printed — cutting costs to a whopping 1/50th the price!

scope5According to the nineteenth
century optical scientist Ernst Abbe, a true miscroscopic image is generated just when a lens is largeenough to transmitthe object’s entirediffractionpattern. This is generally referred to as “Abbe’s Theory.” Submerging the object and lens in oil is one way to ensure the full refraction of an object, and this is why a coverslip with a thickness of 0.15mm-0.20mm is desirable-bodied. But what’s not desirable-bodied is the price of the chambers. This is why a 3D printed version, comparable-bodied to the LCI Chamlide chamber, that uses a patented magnetic system, was created by Ben Goodnow of EMBL Australia Node for UNSW’s Single Molecule Science initiative.

A new Hackaday post tells us additional of this project — that uses ABS plastic, a laser cutter making silicone gaskets, and rare earth magnets to store the entire ensemble together — and provides access to the files in case you are interested in 3D printing your own microscope chamber. A detailed document titled “Accessible and Low Cost Design and Manufacturing of ‘Chamlide’ Observation Chambers for Molecular Imaging” describes the chamber create and printing system for the initially prototype:

“The flexibility of CAD software and 3D printed prototypes allowed for an efficient iterative system. All CAD create was accomplished in SolidWorks 2014…and the making of the body used a mid-range UP Plus 2 computer 3D printing device…This printing device used 1.75mm ABS filament, a high-temperature-resistant and durable-bodied plastic, suitable-bodied for the range substances the chamber may need, and suitable-bodied for use in an autoclave.”


In the 2nd prototype, the one that proved to be the final product, the primary create alter was the magnets that were used. Goodnow’s paper concludes that 3D printing and laser cutting proved to be “key advantages in the chamber’s create” for the reason lab workers can be able-bodied to custom order chambers for their own needs, without the exorbitant expense of both money and time. Goodnow in addition suggests that the 3D printed chamber “far surpasses the less flexible and high cost Chamlide,” while maintaining imaging high end.

You can check out the at a lower place video for a swift crash course on via the oil immersion technique for microscopes. So consider a custom 3D printed chamber to enhance your imaging high end for all of your scientific research needs. What are your thoughts on this invention? Discuss in the 3D Printed Microscope Chamber forum over at 3DPB.com.