An inverted microscope’s main distinguishing feature is the location of the optics. The optics are located below the stage. As a result, the sample is placed on top of the objectives. This means you will look at the sample from below it. Because the optics are underneath the sample, inverted microscopes offer ample working space to view samples of all shapes and sizes.
Inverted microscopes are used in metallography and quality assurance tasks in medical device or microelectronics manufacturing as well as automotive and aviation industry, or materials science for analysis of other materials. They are especially advantageous for viewing huge samples that weigh up to 30 kg. Upright microscopes, in comparison, can only be used to view samples with a maximum height of 80 mm and weight of 3 kg.
Inverted microscopes are designed with the objectives and turret positioned below the stage. In theory, the sample could be as high as the ceiling – there is no height limitation. However, the maximum weight of a sample is limited to 30 kg depending on the stage used. This is ten times larger than can be accommodated by an upright microscope: samples can only be up to 80 mm high and weigh up to 3 kg.
The Leica DMi1 is specifically designed to meet the requirements for quick and efficient cell checks. You can place Petri dishes or cell culture flasks on the stage and monitor the specimen, characterize cells or tissues, and observe them in Brightfield or Phase contrast.
You can find out a lot with a cell check. You can:
- monitor cell fidelity during culture in general
- check the maturation and differentiation of cells (e.g. muscle cells, heart cells etc.)
- determine the confluence of cells before they are transfected with gene constructs (e.g. for GFP expressing experiments)
- count cells after adding particular selection media, drugs etc.
- check cells for contamination (yeast, bacteria etc.)
The Leica DMi1 is designed for everybody in cell culture labs to facilitate their daily routine work.
The main advantage of the Leica DMi1 is that it is focused on the necessary features. There is no nonsense about is, no gadgets, just exactly what you need to get work done. You can even operate it without a PC and software, if you want to. It is so small it can be placed almost everywhere in the cell culture lab, even directly inside the laminar flow box. It is designed for duration – a rugged instrument you can rely on every day. If you need a camera, there is the option to integrate one into the system and use Leica DMshare to make the camera wireless and transfer images to an iPad or Android tablet
The Leica DMi1 is designed for quick cell checks, for a smooth, fast workflow without time-consuming adjusting of the microscope. That is why it has only one phase ring slider for all objectives, for instance. You can monitor your cells in Brightfield and Phase contrast. When you switch from Brightfield to Phase contrast, the light intensity adjusts automatically. If you need documentation, a camera can be integrated into the microscope. And you can operate the Leica DMi1 with or without PC and software.
What are the limitations? What are suitable alternatives?
The Leica DMi1 is not designed for fluorescence applications. If you want to check or document cells expressing fluorescent proteins, we recommend the Leica DM IL inverted microscope. For more sophisticated experiments with GFP expressing cells or tissues, such as time-lapse or z-stacking with subsequent deconvolution, we recommend the Leica DMi8 modular inverted microscope system. This inverted microscope system can be adapted to your specific needs. Starting from basic documentation purposes up to high-end multidimensional fluorescence acquisition in real-time, high-speed.
Please note that the Leica DMi1 does not support Polarization contrast. If you need this contrasting technique, we recommend the Leica DM ILM for material sciences.
You can employ Brightfield and Phase contrast.
With LED illumination, you benefit from a constant color temperature. And the LED illumination of the Leica DMi1 has a practical auto-off function: After 2 hours with no interaction, the LED lamp switches off automatically.
If you need a large free working distance we recommend the S80 condenser (80 mm free working distance), e.g. if you are mainly working with large culture flasks. In all other cases and especially if a higher numerical aperture which delivers higher resolution is more important to you, we recommend the S40 which has a NA of 0.45 with a free working distance of 40 to 50 mm. Both condensers are interchangeable.
- Most cell cultures, except for insect and yeast cultures, are based on mammalian cell lines with a temperature optimum of approximately 37° C. This means that after cells have been removed from the incubator, they should not cool down.
- You will find working in a non-contaminant or sterile environment conducive to your results. Although the cell culture medium usually contains antibacterial reagents, we recommend working in a laminar flow box, and gloves are a must. We also recommend cleaning the microscope stage and surfaces from time to time with 70% isopropanol.
- After transfection or drug treatment, cells are often sensitive. We recommend avoiding shaking or other mechanical irritation. You will find working in a working space that is cleared and barrier-free around the microscopes beneficial.
- You should avoid exposing GFP-expressing cells to bright light to avoid phototoxity effects, that is damage incurred by light.
For quick cell checks, you will do best with Brightfield and Phase contrast. They are cost-efficient and provide all information needed to evaluate the current status of your cell or tissue culture. The Leica DMi1 supports both contrast methods.
The main difference is that they are designed for tasks of different complexity.
The Leica DMi1 is conceived for quick cell checks. You can perform cell and tissue checks quickly and efficiently in Brightfield and Phase Contrast.
The Leica DM IL enables you to perform more applications, for example involving fluorescence.
The Leica DMi8 is the fully modular high-tech instrument which can be equipped for almost every application.
You can order the Leica DMi1 with or without an integrated color camera.
Camera option 1: Leica MC120 HD, a 2.5-megapixel color camera, HD format, interface to directly connect an HDMI monitor, slot for SD card, remote control. That is a good joice for basic documentation purposes.
Camera option 2: Leica MC170 HD, a 5-megapixel color camera, HD format, interface to directly connect a HDMI monitor, slot for SD card, remote control. We recommend this camera for high resolution images.
You have three options:
- You can control the integrated camera with a remote control unit. Acquired images can be stored on the SD card of the camera.
- You can use an palm / footswitch to acquire images.
- You can use Leica DMshare V3 to make your camera wireless. Cells can be imaged live and shared with colleagues, even if they are in another room. The images are then stored on an iPad or Android tablet.
You can integrate a camera into the Leica DMi1, either a 2.5-megapixel or a 5-megapixel color camera. Control and acquisition work as follows:
- The camera can be connected to an HD monitor and acquires single images or movies on the SD card which is located in the camera head.
- The camera can be connected to a HD monitor and an additional imaging hub which makes the camera wireless and allows camera control and image acquisition with your iPad or tablet PC via the Leica DMshare V3 App.
- The camera can be connected to a PC and be controlled via Leica Application Suite (LAS) X software and a monitor.
No, this is not possible. If you need fluorescence, we recommend the Leica DM IL inverted microscope which can be equipped with a fluorescence axis.
No- this is not possible. If you need DIC, we recommend the Leica DM IL inverted microscope which can be equipped for Integrated Modulation Contrast (IMC) or the Leica DMi8 inverted microscope which offers DIC.
Leica offers a broad range of accessories for DMi1 ( like stage inserts, holding frames, filters). For more details please download the technical data sheet.