New Video Brochure for new Fluid Inclusion Stage - TS1400XY

Here's a nice close look at our TS1400XY stage.  This stage received quite a bit of interest at PACROFI - the recent Fluid Inclusion Conference -  hosted at University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Fluid inclusion samples sit on a small sapphire sample holder which slides into a ceramic heating element accurately controlled up to 1400C.
By using the XY sample manipulators you can then move your sample around inside the heater to view all the inclusions.

Due to the extremely compact design of the stage you can use high NA lenses with high magnification to view inclusions down to the micron level of resolution.

A special quench manipulator option enables you to quickly remove samples from the heater at high temperature to a pre-cooled platform.  This results in cooling rates of up to 240C per second.
Yep, pretty fast.

Contact us to find out more

Hot Rocks and Cool Fluids at PACROFI 2010

 

Fluid inclusion geologists are a pretty cool bunch of scientists.  I can't quite put my finger on what separates them from many other scientists we come into contact with.  The research is highly complex and yet they just seem a little more laid back and easy going - noted by the high proportion of sandal and short wearing attendees.

 

Maybe it has something to do with spending a lot of time outside gathering samples in exotic locations or maybe they just know something we don't.

What I do know is that we had a great time at the recent PACROFI (Pan-American Current Research On Fluid Inclusions) conference hosted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Not only because Fluid inc researchers are a great bunch of people to be around, but because we had the chance to show off our new TS1400XY stage.....ok, it didn't hurt being a couple of blocks from the strip either.

Prof. Bob Bodnar of Virginia Tech GeoSciences, has had one of our prototypes for a few months and he was on hand with his colleague Dr. Rosario Esposito to show off some nice melt inclusion pics they had taken using the high speed quench cooling feature.

Prof. Jean Cline and Dr. Adam Simon, PACROFI hosts and organisers, recently received their new TS1400XY and though they had some initial issues with imaging at temperatures above 1200C, this has now been sorted out and we hope to hear some good reviews pretty soon.

It was also great to meet up with Dr. Jim Reynolds, legendary fluid inclusionist and inventor of the USGS Fluid Inc stage, who also had some nice compliments for our TS1400XY stage.  The Fluid Inc stage was a major competitor to our THMSG600 stage and to receive a compliment from a former competitor is high praise indeed.

Many thanks to Jean and Adam for hosting a fantastic show and allowing us to exhibit our hotstage.  Why all conferences don't end with a poster session lubricated with something like 15 different types of beer is a mystery to me.

Also thanks to Jeff McGinn and Sam Cortes of McCrone Microscopes and Accessories  fame - our preferred U.S distributor, for setting up the booth, shipping out their demo TS1400XY and Imaging Station and sorting out the logistics.  Hope you guys have some better luck at the tables next time!
Not that I would ever advocate gambling of course.

So What's Freeze Drying all About?

We may know how to build the best darn freeze drying microscope stages in the world, but when it comes down to analysing the results....well....we're just really good at designing and building the equipment.
We'll build it and then refer to the experts to help you analyse the results.  I'll let the folks from Biopharma Technology Ltd take it from here....

 

'Freeze drying is a complex science, requiring understanding and control of a number of different processes simultaneously. The difference between success and failure can be only a couple of degrees or a few minutes.  BTL believe that freeze drying should be approached rationally, and that in-depth understanding and scientific analysis can provide the answer to any processing problems. 

BTL have been providing thorough, practical training in freeze drying technology since 1997. These courses are designed to bring together the scientific theory with real-life examples and the practical knowledge from experts with many years of direct experience with industry. As well as gaining deep understanding of the science of freeze drying, delegates should leave the course with an understanding of how to apply this knowledge practically in their own work, to improve a product’s stability, gain better batch success rates, or improve plant efficiency. 

Courses are run regularly in the UK, Netherlands and US in a variety of formats to suit different practitioners – check out the website www.lyophilizationtechnology.com/training.htm for more information.' 

 

The VTO is Back... Analogue Video Lives On

 

Every year we wonder whether we should finally put analogue video to rest and stop building a version of our video capture software (Linksys 32-AV) and Video Text Overlay unit (VTO232).  The problem is that customers still keep asking for it.  We love to keep the customer happy so we keep developing the analogue option.

 

The VTO 95 is a plug in card for the T95 system controller and enables you to overlay the temperature controller information on a live 25 frames per second video image.

You can record this live image with a DVR or DVD recorder from any monitor with a composite input.  The beauty of this system is you don't need a PC or any software and what you see is what you get; the full 25fps to record and play back at your desire.

This kind of system is ideal for quality control procedures or if you just want to record  a movie of your experiment without requiring a PC setup.

Another Video Brochure is in the Can

We have been working hard to get more and more video content onto our website.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a quick video clip at 25 frames per second is worth quite a few hefty books of info.

These videos are designed to give you a brief overview and quickly appreciate how the heating stage is used.

In the video above you can see how easy it is to load a sample into a THMS600 hotstage when using the Imaging Station.

So far we have video brochures for the Examina and Analysa stages and the Imaging Station.  More to come!

Ramping up R&D

 

They say when the economy is suffering, R&D is usually the first spending cut a company makes.  Well at Linkam, we seem to be getting more and more requests for customised and completely unique instrument designs every day.

 

In our opinion, the only response to this increase in demand, is for us to invest yet again in our R&D department.  We have just added a new electronics/software design engineer and a new mechanical design engineer will join us next month.(introductions to follow in another post)

In addition to this we have invested in some nice new 3D software that enables us to send a customer a virtual 3D prototype of their instrument during the design process.  This will enable them to manipulate the design on screen.
By simply dragging the mouse over the 3D model you can spin it around, flip it over, and walk straight through, all within freely available Adobe Acrobat Reader.  How awesome is that?  Take a look at the video above and you'll see what I mean.

If you have an idea for a custom stage or want some modifications of one of our standard instruments.  Give us a call or ping us an email.

The HUBBA is Back!

 

It's been ages since a HUBBA (Help Us Be Better Award) has been awarded.  It's not that lots of good ideas were not submitted, but more so that HUBBA competitors were just too snowed under to make their great ideas happen (one of the requirements for receiving the award is to demonstrate your idea is feasible).

 

So, today I had great pleasure in awarding, Jane Vinton - our accounts, office, admin, shipping and several other thnigs manager - the HUBBA award for her great idea of using the shredded paper in thin heat sealed plastic as packing material for dispatching spares.  The paper can easily be ripped out of the extremely thin plastic bag at the customer's site and recycled. The amount of plastic to be thrown away is minimal and this way we do not need to use unbiodegradable bubblewrap, thereby further burdening horrendous landfill sites.
Ok it's a small difference, but a lot of small differences add up to significant change.
What are you doing to contribute to the change?

Linkam Cryostage used at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory...

 

That’s right; the scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA have been using our LTS350 system to better understand the thermal evolution and behaviour of icy bodies in our solar system.
Our microscope stages are used in some pretty amazing applications in biology, materials, geology and so on, but it’s not often that you hear about an application that includes the words, ‘Space Mission’.
Some days I’m just blown away by how lucky we are to hear first hand from the scientists about this - almost science fiction like - work....
This is pulled straight from the application note, which you can read in full on our Application Notes page.
‘...The physical processes are studied on a microscopic scale, but the results give insight into large processes such as cryovolcanism, tidal dissipation and the thermal evolution of various planets and satellites, including icy regions on earth, outer planet satellites, Mars, meteorite parent bodies, and the outer solar system. This research is critical to the interpretation of data from space missions like previous Galileo (Jupiter), current Cassini‐Huygens (Saturn), Dawn (Vesta + Ceres), or New Horizons (Pluto‐Charon and Trans‐Neptunian Objects), as well as to the definition of scientific instruments for future missions to icy bodies.’
Thank you to all the folks at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for letting us in on this exciting work.

 

Hours of Liquid Crystal Analysis- Done in Minutes

 

Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player to ever set foot on the basketball court.  He probably knows this, he has 6 NBA championship rings.  However, an actor, he is not. did you ever see Space Jam?  Nope, not too many did.

 

It's a good idea to stick with what you're best at.

We make temperature controlled stages for a variety of microscopy techniques.  This is what we are best at, and so when it comes to analysing liquid crystals, we'll take care of the temperature control microscopy instruments, but we'll turn over the in depth quantitative analysis to the experts.

We will be working with Dr. Michael Wand and the folks at LC-Vision to promote their LCAS range of liquid crystal analysis instruments.  The LCAS range utilise an LC cell holder that will fit into our LTS120 and LTS420 temperature controlled stages to enable the user to analyze liquid crystals in minutes that would otherwise take hours.

Property analysis of nematic LC includes:
 

  • Threshold voltage (Vth) • Parallel dielectric (Epara)
  • Perpendicular dielectric (Eperp)
  • Dielectric anisotropy (ΔE)
  • Splay elastic Constant (K1)
  • Bend elastic constant (K3)
  • Rotational viscosity
  • Ionic density – both positive and negative ions
  • Will measure negative ΔE nematic liquid crystals using high to low voltage sweep)
Further details available at LC-vision.com

 

At Long Last We're Shipping The LTS420 Stages

If you've been waiting for your LTS420 system you will no doubt be relieved to learn that we are shipping the first batch of these highly anticipated new stages this week.

So why the big delay?  Well, the LTS350 utilised an electro plated machined copper heating/cooling element.  As you are no doubt aware, copper is an excellent thermal conductor but oxidises very quickly.  Take it up to 350C and the problem is exacerbated.

Since our new T95 controllers have extra heating capacity we wanted to ramp up the performance of the LTS stage to 420C, however, the electro plating can only do so much to protect the copper from the oxidising environment of a heating stage.  Early silver plated prototypes seemed to work well, but manufacturing these elements at a consistently high standard proved to be far more difficult than we anticipated.

How did we solve the problem?  We now make pure silver LTS heating elements.  This is of course a more expensive material and from a technical point of view virtually impossible to do.  Pure silver is a very soft metal and a complete nightmare to work with.  Designing and building a perfectly flat pure silver heating element was extremely difficult, but after many prototypes, we have nailed it.

The new LTS420 stage will go up to 420C at 50C/min.  It is a fantastic new instrument and hopefully well worth the wait.

New Online Video Brochure


We are continually trying to find ways to show you how amazing our temperature controlled microscope stages are.

It is not easy to appreciate the precision engineering and finish until you get to see one in the flesh and use it.

Ok, sure, we are biased, but hopefully this new video brochure of our THMS600 stage will go some way further than the usual static images of our products to convince you that make some pretty special products.

Standby for more video brochures coming up in the next few weeks.

Linkam On TV: So Did Cooking Make Us Human?

Keen Linkam Blog readers will recall us talking about the BBC filming a documentary on whether cooking food is what enabled us to evolve faster than the apes.

Well the show aired last week, so I apologise for not giving prior warning to set your DVR.  Fear not; those of you in the UK can watch it online on the BBC iplayer by clicking here. Those of you overseas will just have to take our word that it was....well....quite interesting.  We'll see if we can get a clip or something and put it on our youtube channel.

Linkam hotstage enthusiasts may well find themselves eager to fast forward to the brief glimpse of the Linkam THMS600 heating and freezing stage, in which case, you will need to drag the slider all the way to 42min and 10seconds to see Kathy Groves at the controls.

Awesome Freeze Drying Workshops

We've been selling Freeze Drying stages since 98, not that we were the first to build a freeze drying microscope stage by a long shot.  I remember attending the freeze drying conference at Ascutney Mountain Resort in Vermont in 98 and being lectured by one of the Godfather's of Freeze Drying that our stage was by no means the first and that he had built something far more sophisticated in 1956 and was still using it.
Of course we have never professed to be the first, only that we are among the best and the number of systems we've sold since that conference suggests we might be right.
However, we are not freeze drying scientists and interpreting the result from a freeze drying microscope stage is not a simple task.  If you want to learn more about freeze drying and freeze drying microscopy there is a great opportunity at one of three workshops being held by long time Linkam user, Dr. Henning Gieseler and his focus group from the University of Erlangen, Germany.

The Lyolearn Seminar program take place on:
April 12th, Princeton NJ (Doubletree Princeton)
April 14th Boston MA (Boston Doubletree)
April 16th San Francisco CA (Burlingame Doubletree)

For more info contact Leslie Mather at Leslie.Mather@SPScientific.com

Register Here

Making Sure You Get The Right System

One of our main priorities at Linkam is making sure our customers get exactly the right system for their application.  We want to be sure that when that shiny new Linkam system turns up on your doorstep, it is going to do exactly what you need it to, right out of the box.

To make sure we get all the details we need to get an accurate quote out, we spend a lot of time in conversation with our customers.  Our website has a ton of info on our systems, but we also like to hear about the application first hand in order to make recommendations.

However, we also recognize that there are literally thousands of Linkam systems out there and many of our customers and distributors have experience with the equipment, so know exactly what they want and just need a quote as quickly as possible.
We are more than familiar with that feeling of standing in line at Starbucks, grinding teeth, fists clenched, while the Starbucks virgin stands there at the counter, gawking at the menu, shrugging nervously, asking questions like 'So what's a mocha?'-  and - 'How large is a Tall? Is that like a small or more like a medium?'
I've been close to getting physical in these situations.

We know you want your quote fast; but there are still some details we need to know in order to provide this quote, so we have designed a quote building page for each system.  This 'Quote Request Builder' is a few simple drop down menus with various options to help us configure a compatible system with your microscope.
If you complete the quote builder, you can be assured of getting your quote within 24hours.
Just click on the system you require and then go to the link to the specific Quote Builder Request for that product.

The Perfect Pancake For Pancake Day

Keen Linkam Blog readers will already know that in addition to being the 'Go To' experts on temperature control microscopy stages, Linkam Scientific Instruments is also world famous for producing incredible pancakes.
Each year we work tirelessly with a team of world leading pancake scientists to develop the perfect pancake in time for pancake day.
By manipulating hundreds of different pancake formulations and testing using cutting edge optical rheology and temperature control microscopy.  We are able to study the mixture morphology and texture in relation to temperature.  With better than 0.1C control, we are able to cook the pancake using optimal conditions.

Of course, science and technology can only take us so far, which is why we ultimately collaborate with pancake connoisseurs to taste our final formulations and  confirm that we are still the best.
For more information, on pancakes and temperature control microscopy, please contact us.

Have You Heard About Scientific Scrobbling?

If you are a scientist and you haven't heard of scrobbling, then it may be well worth your while to head on over to mendeley.com and find out how it can help you.

Scrobbling is used in the music industry to log played tracks and then use meta data to select future tracks.  What Jan Reichelt and Victor Henning have done is take the technology developed by the music experts at Last.fm and create a service for scientists which extracts meta data (Titles, authors, keywords and the titles the paper itself cites) from scientific papers and creates a searchable database of a specific area of research.
But the real genius of Mendeley is that it learns about what you are interested in each time you upload a paper.  It then can recommend different papers and authors around the world working on similar research and put you in touch with them to form collaborations.  The service runs in real time, so you can even see who is the most popular scientist on a specific subject that morning.

As with all social networks, it's rapidly gaining popularity.  By the end of 2009 they were approaching 8 million scholarly articles.
We are often checking in with Google scholar to find references to our hotstages, maybe it's time to give Mendeley a try.  It's free of charge at the moment so there's nothing to lose.

You can read a much better article on how it works written by Victor Kegan at the Guardian or a nice short one which will give you the general idea at Wired.com

Q-Imaging Visit Linkam



James Francis, Manager, of Q Imaging UK and Europe , part of the international Roper Group, visited Linkam Scientific this week to provide sales training for the Linkam sales team. 

We have forged a strong partnership with Q Imaging over the past few years, with Linkam integrating a wide range of the Q-Imaging cameras into the Linksys32 image capture software, which is distributed across our world-wide market of unique temperature control products.

James introduced the new QImaging on-line learning resource QTube, which gives access to some excellent educational video content. 

Going on to the sales training, James impressed the importance of resolution, making sure there is a sensible match between camera and lens resolution - getting the right camera for the right job.

An overriding influence on image quality can be the C-mount, which interfaces the camera to the microscope; all too often relatively cheap, poor quality lenses are used and this negates the resolving power of the expensive objective lens. 
Ideally a 1x mag C-mount should be used so that there is no glass between the microscope optics and camera enabling the optimum system resolution, as seen in our Linkam Imaging Station which does not require the trinocular head containing correction lenses and light splitter.
Quantum efficiency, or sensitivity, is also essential when considering your specific application and whilst the QICAM range provide a good general purpose camera, there are better choices for low light applications such as fluorescence.
(see below)




Many thanks to James for making himself available here in Surrey after braving the notorious M25. We look forward to seeing the new Q-Imaging products and working together in the future.



Linkam Photo Competition Winners

The Linkam photo competition was decided in mid December and the winners pics have been printed and framed and will be displayed here at Linkam.
You can see the entire collection at the picasa online gallery here.

The Overall winner was Jack Verhoeff for his picture of a Robin with a bit of grass in its beak. Bit of a controversial winner in my opinion, but the voting was completely fair and apparently no money changed hands.

Second Place also goes to Jack for his wee butterfly, this is a great pic, nice one Jack.

Third place was shared as they received equal votes.
This is Jim Hayward's 'WaterWorld' Pretty cool I'm sure you will agree.




This beautiful shot is of an Indian Sunset taken by Hai Ho. He also received the wooden spoon for his picture of a monkey displaying it's genitals.
Of course, the picture had to be immediately removed from the gallery, however, a disappointed Hai Ho, argued, 'I took the picture because of the monkey's strange haircut'.
He did not have any further cause for complaint when it was pointed out that monkey's don't get their hair cut and even so, he had chopped the top of the monkey's head off so that the hairstyle was only partly seen anyway.


Another awesome sunset, this is Barmouth Harbour, taken by Rob Duncan.


Contact us if you want to see the picture of the monkey.


BBC documentary made at Leatherhead Food Research features Linkam Hot Stage

Kathy Groves and her team at Leatherhead Food Research have just spent the morning filming with the BBC as part of a documentary to be aired in March.

The documentary discusses the role of diet in evolution. Comparing the raw food simian diet with modern human's diet.

Our simian ancestors evolved a digestive tract to cope with a super high fibre diet, but it required a lot more energy to digest all that woody stuff.

I'm thinking of one of those massive silverback gorillas, just sitting there half asleep gnawing on some branch he's yanked off a nearby tree. The only activity being a bit of chest beating and hollering every now and then to ensure everyone knows who's boss. This is probably completely inaccurate, but you get the idea.

Apparently, cooked food requires a lot less energy to digest and hence modern humans as we know them had more available for other activities like designing, building, and getting all sorts of stuff done, although a bit of chest beating and hollering still exists today.

I may have got this all wrong as I'm working from snippets of conversation and you'll have to watch the documentary to see just how wrong....I'll post a link of course.

Our THMS600 stage was used on an Olympus microscope to show how the starch granules break down with temperature. I'm guessing, it's this breakdown that enabled us to eat and digest starchy foods that were otherwise unavailable as an energy source.

Thanks so much to Kathy Groves and Leatherhead food for letting us get in the way.

ok, so it's really snowing now


The Uk is totally rubbish at preparing for what in many countries is really quite pathetic amounts of snow.
We are in fact even worse at coping with it once it is here.
We don't have the equipment to clear it, the right clothing or footwear and the folks who've opted for a giant 4x4 to drive the kids to school in don't have the right tyres or skills to actually venture out in the conditions that their vehicles were designed for.
We, as a nation, are rubbish at snow.

However, 6inches of the fluffy white stuff have descended upon linkam and 90% of our staff are in! Although we have spent rather too much time throwing snowballs and making snow dudes than actually building awesome hotstages today. Worse still, is that more snow is coming down so we may not all make it in tomorrow.