Automated microscopes are useful for life science fluorescence applications like live-cell and time-lapse imaging (widefield and confocal microscopy) as well as high-speed multi-fluorescence optical sectioning (confocal microscopy). They are also practical for industrial applications like cleanliness analysis, alloy quality rating, and optical inspection of electronic circuit boards (compound, digital, and stereo microscopes). The microscopes have features, such as automated contrast and illumination including fluorescence excitation and emission, motorized focus and parfocality, automatic brightness and diaphragm adjustment, among others. These automated functions make the microscopes more convenient to use and lead to more reliable and reproducible results.
Automated microscopes offer advantages over manually operated microscopes for certain applications, as repetitious, labor-intensive, time-consuming operations are automated and do not require user intervention. Automated microscopes also enable high-speed operations to be performed more easily and more reliably. They save a considerable amount of time compared to manual operation and enable a faster and more reliable workflow.
An automated microscope actually has certain functions which are automated. The automation is done by using electronic components, like a digital camera, and intelligent software. For example, focusing, illumination settings, sample movement, changing objectives, can all be automated. The image acquisition time is synchronized with exposure of the sample to light to minimize photodamage if the sample is light-sensitive.
Automated microscopes are useful for various applications that require time-consuming and repetitive tasks or high-speed operations. Examples are time-lapse imaging with fluorescence microscopy for life-science applications and inspection and quality control for industrial applications.
Which facts are important to consider when choosing an automated microscope?
When choosing an automated microscope, one should determine which tasks or operations in the workflow need to be automated in order to save time and increase accuracy and reproducibility. Once the tasks are known, then a microscope with the appropriate automated features, e.g., autofocusing, motorized stage for sample movement, control of illumination settings, changing objectives, etc., can be chosen.
What is the difference between a manual and automated microscope?
A manual microscope uses optical, electronic, and mechanical components (stage, focusing, illumination, etc.) that need to be operated manually by the user. In an automated microscope, these tasks are automated and do not require the operator’s presence during imaging. An automated microscope can provide more accurate and reliable results and lead to a more efficient and less labor-intensive workflow for users.
How do automated microscopes work?
Automated microscopes use a combination of electronic components and software which enable automation of repetitious tasks being done in the imaging workflow. Common electronic components for microscope automation are digital cameras, motorized stages for sample movement and focusing, motorized objective nosepieces, automated control of illumination settings, etc.
What are automated microscopes needed for?
Automated microscopes are useful for imaging tasks which are repetitious and time-consuming when done manually. Performing such tasks with an automated microscope saves users time and enhances reproducibility of the results. Automation is often needed for life-science applications requiring time-lapse imaging over multiple samples, but also for cleanliness inspection and quality control for electronic components.
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Alloy quality rating
From the examination of non-metallic inclusions in steel to grain and phase analysis needs, automated microscopes for materials analysis help manufacturers develop rapidly and reliably alloys with the desired properties. Automated microscopes lower costs via efficient acquisition of statistically meaningful data for continuous optimization of workflows and production processes.
Automated microscopes are very useful for the imaging, analysis, and documentation of live cell and tissue cultures. They help life scientists save time and effort when the research requires repetitive, labor-intensive imaging of multiple live-cell specimens.
Cleanliness analysis is key for assuring product quality and performance for automotive and electronic components. Automated microscopes are critical for efficient and reliable cleanliness analysis and the characterization of particulate contamination.
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