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WPI offer a wide range of products designed for those working in the life science industry but just as importantly they offer great customer support and possess great product knowledge.
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Microscope Incubators

Microscope Incubators

Developed by Microscopists, for Microscopists: In Vivo Scientific offers the most advanced live cell imaging environments available.


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Overview

Incubator 3

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Live Cell Microscopy
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In Vivo Scientific offers the most advanced live cell imaging environments available. As all of their products have been designed and empirically tested by scientists working in the live cell microscopy field, they can ensure the absolute highest degree of temperature precision and stability.

Other incubators for live cell microscopy rely on passive, random diffusion of heated air from a single source to maintain the desired temperature setpoint at the sample (left hand image below). Since these systems provide no air-return, this heated air eventually escapes from the incubator through cracks at the microscope/incubator junction in an uncontrolled, random fashion. Because of this design, such incubators suffer from the following flaws:

  • Lack of temperature uniformity throughout the chamber and across the stage, causing temperature differences across multiwell plates.
  • Temperature flucturations at the sample being imaged, resulting in focus drift.
  • Electrical and vibrational interference from the heater.
  • Large changes in temperature when the imaging environment is disturbed (e.g. incubator doors opened).

 

 

 

 

Temperature uniformity of other incubators (left) vs. In Vivo Scientific incubators (right). Warmer temps indicated by red and cooler temps by blue. 

In Vivo Scientific incubators are designed and empirically tested to reduce or eliminate these flaws found in other incubators. Instead of relying on passive diffusion of air to warm the incubator/sample, our incubators employ a unique diffusion grid design in combination with both an air input and an air return. This design results in predictable, uniform airflow throughout the chamber, eliminating cool or hot spots within the incubator itself, and vastly improving temperature stability at the sample being imaged. Maintenence of the desired temperature setpoint is achieved through the use of a precision, shielded temperature probe coupled to a peripheral heating unit. Because the heater unit can be placed away from the incubator itself, elimination of electrical and vibrational interference from the heater itself can be achieved. Accuracy +/- 0.1 deg. C can routinely be maintained at the sample itself, and 0.2 deg. C. across the microscope stage (allowing for uniform heating of multiwell dishes). These tight tolerances result in minimal focal drift once sample/incubator equilibrium has been achieved. Furthermore, because of the airflow pattern and temperature uniformity, the incubator temperature rapidly re-adjusts following the opening of incubator doors (e.g. during sample changing/manipulation or microscope hardware manipulation).

Thermal Stability of In Vivo Scientific Incubators. Temperatures were recorded with a digital temperature probe placed at the center of the stage. High precision temperature stability is maintained over both short (left) and long (right) durations.

Left: In Vivo Scientific Incubator on a Nikon Eclipse TE-2000 Microsocpe. Incubators for Zeiss and Olympus microscopes are also available, as well as versions that accommodate confocal modules. All incubators are compatible with all commercially available cameras, light sources, filter wheels, motorized stages, and motorized nosepieces.All incubators are designed with ergonomics as well as performance in mind. Microscope controls are easily accessible when the incubator is installed, and focus and x,y stage controls of the microscope are outside of the incubator itself. Large, logically positioned doors allow easy access to the specimen and other microscope controls , and smaller doors allow for cords, tubing, and miscellaneous access. The incubator itself can be installed by a single person in a matter of minutes.  

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do I need a microscope incubator? Won't a heated stage be sufficient?

A: Heated stages are sufficient only for low magnification/N.A., dry objective imaging. This is because small fluctuations in ambient air temperature cause changes in the plane of focus at high magnifications, known as focus drift, causing the sample to move into and out of focus. Furthermore, a lens heater is required if high N.A. immersion objectives are used, since the high thermal conductivity of water/oil coupled with a room-temperature objective causes a drop in temperature of the sample itself (sometimes to almost room temperature itself). Thus, the very cell being imaged is not at physiological temperature, even if the rest of the dish is! However, lens heaters used in combination with heated stages often exhibit precision/stability problems, resulting in uncontrollable focal drift at high magnifications and gradients of temperature across the sample. The advantage of a full microscope enclosure is that all of the imaging components are at the same temperature (sample, objective, and stage). This makes live-cell imaging much easier and more reliable.

Q: How is the microscope incubator made by In Vivo Scientific different from incubators made by other manufactures?

A: Other incubators for live cell microscopy rely on passive, random diffusion of heated air from a single source to maintain the desired temperature setpoint at the sample. In Vivo Scientific incubators are designed and empirically tested to reduce or eliminate these flaws found in other incubators. Instead of relying on passive diffusion of air to warm the incubator/sample, our incubators employ a unique diffusion grid design in combination with both an air input and an air return. This design results in predictable, uniform airflow throughout the chamber, eliminating cool or hot spots within the incubator itself, and vastly improving temperature stability at the sample being imaged. See incubators for more information.

Q: I need the absolute highest level of temperature precision and stability at high magnifications; how should I achieve this?

A: Use an objective insulator in combination with the microscope incubator. Even though the objective is being heated by the surrounding air of the incubator, the microscope body represents a very large heat mass which is difficult to maintain at physiological temperatures (this is an inherent problem with all microscope incubators). As a result, the objective may be a few degrees lower in temperature than the sample itself. For most applications, this does not represent a problem; however, the use of our objective insluator eliminates this problem.

Specifications

Accessories

Citations

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Choudhary, A., & Lera, R. (2013). Interphase cytofission maintains genomic integrity of human cells after failed cytokinesis. Proceedings of the  …. Retrieved from https://www.pnas.org/content/110/32/13026.short

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