Pancake Perfection

As we arrived at work on a beautiful, sunny February day the question on the minds of every Linkamite in the office was: what are we going to have on our pancakes tonight?

This question about these light, fluffy discs of deliciousness has led to great debate and discussion; from maple syrup to mushrooms and blueberries to bacon, everyone believes that their own combination leads them to pancake utopia.

The one thing that we can all agree on however is this - the best way to cook pancakes is on the Linkam LTS stage, as we discovered in 2010.

Linkam Scientific - providing perfect pancakes platforms since 1982.

 

Raman Noodles and Peking Duck

Duncan Stacey reports on a recent trip to Japan and China with Vince Kamp to visit Linkam's distributors Japan High Tech and AD Creative.

After more than 15 hours travelling Vince and I finally made it to Fukuoka City, the home town of our Japanese partner, JHT

Mr Koichi Iwasaru, President of JHT, kindly met us at the airport and took us to a local, automated Raman noodle restaurant - a great way to recover from the trials and tribulations of travelling. That evening we were joined by Koichi-san and his wife for dinner at a French/Japanese fusion restaurant. Food as a work of art, it was almost too beautiful to eat.

  An automated Ramen noodle restaurant in Fukuoka, Japan.

 

An automated Ramen noodle restaurant in Fukuoka, Japan.

The trip was not all about food and on Saturday we had a full day of discussions. JHT explained how they promote and sell the Linkam products and the great emphasis they place on customer support. It was interesting to meet some of the JHT team and get a better understanding of the Japanese market and customer requirements.

I am sure I will be back again and we are looking forward to welcoming JHT when they visit us in the UK in the near future

  A Japanese flower garden in Fukuoka.

 

A Japanese flower garden in Fukuoka.

It seemed like no sooner had we landed than we were off again. This time heading to Beijing to visit our Chinese partner, ADC. Mr Jerry Young, Managing Director, kindly provided the transport to the hotel.

The next day started with meeting the team at their office near the Beijing Olympic park. It’s great to see the ever expanding team, now six people, dedicated to providing the best possible customer support for Linkam products in China. Merry Weng Yan and her team gave an interesting overview of the Chinese market. After lunch we went to their new laboratory where ADC offer testing and evaluation as well as technical support and repair facility.

  Dinner with Jerry Young (second left) and the team at ADC, in Beijing.

 

Dinner with Jerry Young (second left) and the team at ADC, in Beijing.

 

Apart from the productive meetings and the fantastic food there were also a few hours to take in some of the sights of Beijing.

  A 'fire extinguisher' in the Forbidden City. These giant urns were once filled with water.

 

A 'fire extinguisher' in the Forbidden City. These giant urns were once filled with water.

Smart Cuffs to Super Shoes - A review of Wired 2014 Part 2

Pioneers of disruption: Architect Zaha Hadid and musician Will.I.AM explaining how they are breaking the barriers of design and technology

Pioneers of disruption: Architect Zaha Hadid and musician Will.I.AM explaining how they are breaking the barriers of design and technology

It’s been a few weeks, but as promised here is Part 2 of my Wired 2014 review.

Due to the entertainment that ran late into the night after day one, there were more than a few bleary eyes walking into the doors of Tobacco Dock on day two. But it did not take long for everyone to get wide eyed again with a line-up that promised excitement and innovation in equal measure.

The range of talks was diverse, but on day two they carried an underlying theme. It was one that was touched upon by almost every speaker and it was this: the way we interact with each other and the world is fundamentally changing.

With the Oculus Rift 3D headset, you no longer have to travel half way across the world to view the sights and sounds of a far flung destination – you can experience them sitting in your living room.

With Google Glass, you no longer have to pull out your camera phone – you can take a photo with just a blink of your eye.

With Will.I.AM’s new Puls “Smart Cuff”, you no longer have to have to keep a diary – this new piece of wearable tech would become your own tiny personal assistant.

The evolution of technology can lead to many great benefits, but as one aspiring young Indian innovator Dhariya Dhand said so beautifully:

“Today we immerse in our digital lives through smartphones - we use Google maps to navigate to the right location, Yelp to find the right restaurant and so on. We don't get lost anymore, we don't wander, wonder and discover. Acts of random serendipity through walking bring us back to our innate nature as explorers. Walking is meditating."

To counteract this he has developed a pair of “Super Shoes” which allow you to get lost wandering around any new city safe in the knowledge that when you tap your foot on the floor twice the GPS system in the sole will guide you back to your hotel. It does this by tickling the appropriate foot every time you should be taking a turn.

With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, It is refreshing to know that there are still some great minds out there who are fighting to ensure that we are not overpowered by smart phones and computers, but that we can use them to take a step back - and still enjoy moments of serendipity everyday life.

By Ricky Patel

Distinctly Colder in DC

  The Washington Monument in all of its magnificence

 

The Washington Monument in all of its magnificence

The Linkam team was recently in Washington DC for NeuroScience 2014, our first time with a booth at this show.

There has been a lot of  interest from other companies producing live cell imaging systems, in particular, who want to add incubators, warm stages and cryo correlative fluorescence capability to their systems.

The diverse range of products and applications on show here was truly amazing: from imaging the single neuron, to monitoring people’s reactions to loud noises using fMRI (functional MRI), and everything in between.

The size of the conference was a bit overwhelming with over twenty five thousand delegates - the equivalent of a small town. Despite this it was very difficult to find a good cup of coffee (note to self – must have a coffee machine on the booth at future shows).

Outside the show we (Duncan Stacey, Vince Kamp and Ricky Patel) managed to get a quick look around some of the Smithsonian museums (http://www.si.edu/Museums) including the Air & Space Museum, Portrait Gallery and National Gallery. Vince managed to set a record time for running around the Reflecting Pool at the Lincoln Memorial.

It was mostly sunny and extremely cold - not that we really noticed as we were inside the huge convention centre all day, but at least we didn’t catch the heavy snow experienced by some other parts of the USA.

Thanks to Jeff McGinn and Jim Bristol from the McCrone Group for supporting us all week.

By Duncan Stacey 

Technology without limits – A review of Wired 2014 Part 1

  Hello from Asimo! The evolution of Asimo - the world’s most humanoid robot - is just one example of how technology is growing without limits.

 

Hello from Asimo! The evolution of Asimo - the world’s most humanoid robot - is just one example of how technology is growing without limits.

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to attend the two day Wired 2014 technology conference held at Tobacco Dock in London. Given that the event was two weeks ago you may find it surprising to hear that I am still awestruck by some of the talks, but I am.

With a line-up of speakers as diverse as HRH The Duke of York and musician will.i.am - alongside some of the world’s most influential and brilliant minds from the worlds of life sciences, digital media, geopolitics, art and advertising - it was hard not to be blown away.  

It was an almost impossible task to note down all of the ideas, innovations and expertise that were presented during the event, but I will attempt to paint the picture as best as I can.

Day one featured a sequence of disruptive, entertaining and engaging talks ranging from Asimo the humanoid robot, to a 22 year old who is building his own self-driving car to a publisher who is attempting to fight extremism in the Middle East using comic books. But, for me, it was the first session of the day that stood out above the rest. 

The morning session was focussed on “Decoding the body” and featured talks that were as exciting as they were controversial, pushing the boundaries of ethics in the search for medical utopia.

The opening talk was given by Anne Wojcicki who confounded the company “23andMe” which has been using big data and bioinformatics to map your genome in order to predict what diseases or illnesses that you may be susceptible to. They are hoping that this will help in the advancement of medicine as it would allow pharmaceutical companies to create drugs which would be specifically tailored to your genes and therefore be a lot more effective.

This idea was carried through into the second talk by Andrew Hessel and his company “Autodesk”. In his job role as a “Bio-Hacker” he has been using electron microscopy to visualise tiny viruses and then use a DNA synthesiser to design and print molecules that would fight the disease and only target that specific virus.

 There was also a very insightful talk given by Nina Tandon from “EpiBone”. Nina is a stem-cell researcher who has been working on growing bone in a lab so that it could be inserted into the body to replace broken or degenerately degrading bones with no fear of rejection. They have also pushed this concept one step further and have toyed with the idea of modifying tree cell DNA to grow homes and also tinkered with cow cells to grow leather without a single animal being harmed.

 This session was a very captivating one as it highlighted that the future of biological advancement will always be met with the age old question of “are we trying to play God?” and what would happen if the technology falls into the wrong hands and could be used for bio terrorism. Who knows what the future holds, but one thing is for sure, medicinal advancement is progressing at a rapid pace and we will all have to confront this debate sooner than we think.

Part 2 of the review coming soon…

By Ricky Patel

What is CLEM?

 

Ahead of NeuroScience 2014 next month, where we will be showing the CMS196 stage, Linkam's very own Vince Kamp has illustrated and narrated a short video about Correlative Light Electron Microscopy or CLEM.

This is the second video from our 'Linkam Simplified' series which uses animation to explain some of the ways in which our stages are used. You can view all our videos on the Linkam You Tube channel

We hope you enjoy it - if so, feel free to share it with your colleagues.

 

Life is Beautiful

  Yet more travelling - and a first for Linkam.

 

Yet more travelling - and a first for Linkam.

We will be in Washington DC next month for NeuroScience 2014 (booth #2426, 15 - 19th November). We are really excited to be attending this conference for the first time as we will be presenting a great new range of products specifically developed for life science applications.

Linkam is renowned for high performance thermal microscopy stages for material science and in talking to our customers we realised our systems were being used for a wide range of life science applications as well. We have been working with our customers to bring our expertise and experience directly to the life science market.

So, what will you see on our booth?

Correlative will almost certainly be one of the buzz words of the show; the CMS196 stage for Cryo Correlative and Cryo Fluorescence Microscopy will take centre stage at our booth. We have been selling this for over a year now - with many systems installed in some of the top labs around the world - so it’s not strictly a new product, but we will be showing some great new features.

CMS196.jpg

Other things to look out for include the new RH95 Humidity generator – you can now precisely control and monitor the humidity inside your Linkam stage.

We will also have a range of controllable glass warm plates and a microscope incubator – ideal for keeping your cells warm and happy during your imaging experiments.

We hope to see you there.

Duncan Stacey

Linkam in Prague

  The historic capital of the Czech Republic plays host to IMC2014 this week

 

The historic capital of the Czech Republic plays host to IMC2014 this week

We are getting about this month!

We will be in Prague this week for the 18th International Microscopy Congress (IMC 2014) - 7th to 12th September. If you are planning on being there please come by the Linkam booth #47, we’d love to see you.

We’ll have a range of our stages including the CMS196 stage for Correlative Microscopy and Cryofluorescence and the new range of warm stages for Andrology and Embryology.

We hope to see you there.

Duncan Stacey

Linkam in Edinburgh

  The dramatic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle: you can almost hear the bagpipes playing

 

The dramatic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle: you can almost hear the bagpipes playing

On Monday we travelled up to Edinburgh to participate in the World Congress for Reproductive Biology (WCRB2014) where - at least on this occasion - passports were still not an essential item to pack.

This was the third WCRB with delegates coming from all corners of the globe to present many interesting papers and posters on all aspects of reproduction and fertility.

At the Tuesday evening welcome reception we were serenaded by the, ahem, dulcet tones of traditional Scottish bagpipes and during the tea and lunch breaks we were able to discuss the benefits of our new warm stages.

These stages have been designed to meet the demands of andrologists and embryologists. It was encouraging to find a number already using some of our existing products, especially those working with koalas and crocodiles.

By Duncan Stacey

Boost in sales

  Dr Duncan Stacey, Linkam's new sales and marketing manager

 

Dr Duncan Stacey, Linkam's new sales and marketing manager

We'd like to introduce you to the latest member of the Linkam team, Dr Duncan Stacey, who has recently been appointed our new sales and marketing manager.

Here's a bit more about him.

Duncan gained his PhD in 1993 from Liverpool University developing hardware and software for spectral micro-imaging techniques.

He has an accomplished track record in the development of new markets and strategic partners and brings a depth of technical and commercial experience to Linkam.

He's worked for some of the leading photonics companies in imaging, spectroscopy and microscopy including Hamamatsu Photonics, Renishaw, Andor Technologies and, most recently, with Leica Microsystems as a Product Manager.

Asked about his expectations for his time ahead with Linkam, Duncan said:

“Linkam has always had a reputation for high quality products, great customer care and cutting edge innovation. Having worked for Linkam for the past month, it is clear we have a great range of new developments.

I am really excited about working as part of the Linkam team to bring the new products to market. It will be a challenge as we are entering new markets and addressing new applications, but that’s part of the fun.”

Linkam's Managing Director, Vincent Kamp, spoke enthusiastically about Duncan’s arrival at the company:

“Duncan brings us the experience that we have lacked in the sales and marketing management area. This is particularly important as we look to strengthen our distribution channels to bring our users greater support as we strive to develop and launch new products to meet their requirements.”

Duncan will be at IMC in Prague next week (September 7th to 12th) so if you are also attending please come over and say hello - he'll be on booth #47.

Linkam Simplified - Episode 1: Freeze Drying Microscopy

Over the next few months we will be bringing you a series of short animations called 'Linkam Simplified' to explain some of the ways in which our stages are used.

In the first episode of this series, we quickly and simply explain the process of freeze drying microscopy and how it can be used in a wide variety of applications ranging from pharmaceutical development to food preservation. 

(click on the youtube logo down in the right corner to watch in larger format on youtube)

Enjoy!

By Ricky Patel

Microscopy in Manchester - MMC2014

  The ultra modern Manchester Central Convention Centre played host to MMC2014

 

The ultra modern Manchester Central Convention Centre played host to MMC2014

Last week the Linkam team headed north to take part in the Microscience Microscopy Congress exhibition (MMC2014) held at the Manchester Central Convention Centre.

The city - which is well known for its music scene and its football teams - played host to a different kind of show. Organised by the Royal Microscopical Society, it featured the largest exhibition of microscope and imaging equipment in Europe. 

Central to the event was a fascinating workshop schedule where delegates had the opportunity to learn about all the latest topics from life and physical sciences to light and electron microscopy.

One of these talks was held by our very own Dr Michael Schwertner who held an interactive workshop showcasing how the Linkam CMS196 can be used in the ever expanding field of Correlative EM and fluorescence microscopy (CLEM).

mmc20142 (3).jpg.png

Dr Schwertner explaining the ins and outs of the CMS196 and its role in the CLEM technique

For Linkam, MMC2014 was a great success because it not only gave us an inside track on some of the newest techniques in the microscopy world, but it also gave us the chance to catch up with a few old friends who had travelled far to be a part of such a prestigious event.

Ricky Patel

A Fantastic Plastic

  What a waste - Refuse sites around the world have reached breaking point

 

What a waste - Refuse sites around the world have reached breaking point

Packaging materials and other waste by-products of our consumer culture are pushing the world’s landfill sites to breaking point. The challenge of finding more environmentally responsible materials has never been greater. 

Since the turn of the 21st century, research into biodegradable materials has become a multi-billion pound industry. This has driven the demand for the production of biodegradable plastics which can be used, for example, as an eco-smart alternative to the materials currently used to wrap foodstuffs. 

Teams from three world renowned institutes in China have combined their expertise in this field to study polybutylene succinate (PBS) in greater detail as a potential replacement for polypropylene. PBS decomposes into carbon dioxide and water and as a material can be used in a range of applications from drug delivery to that perennial problem of plastic packaging. 

The scientists from the industrial cities of Beijing and Tianjin have been using the Linkam TST350 stage in combination with an X-Ray Synchrotron to look at the properties of the biodegradable plastic in order to assess its tensile strength - a key factor in its potential suitability as an all-purpose plastic.

For more about this fascinating research, please click here.

By Ricky Patel

Where Science Meets Art

  A Linkam THMS stage is being used to authenticate works of art in Denmark.

 

A Linkam THMS stage is being used to authenticate works of art in Denmark.

Professor Rolf Berg and his team from the Technical University of Denmark have been using a Linkam THMS stage to identify very subtle changes in the pigmentation of colours - within a temperature controlled environment - in precious works of art from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum in Copenhagen. 

The prestigious museum houses the personal art collection of Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914) who was the son of one of the founders of Carlsberg breweries; the museum was founded in 1882 and is home to over 10,000 artefacts.

Professor Berg said: “Works of art, statues, paintings, ceramics, etc. commonly have solid colour grains which can provide important information on the origin and authenticity. This project gave us the opportunity to study new revelations about art and colour pigments and the chance to try modern spectroscopic equipment in collaboration with other universities".

Pieces of such importance require careful preservation work to ensure that they stay as close to the original state as possible; this is where the worlds of science and art meet to ensure that the beauty of such artefacts is maintained for future generations.

For more about this exciting application, please click here

Ricky Patel

Rheology by the Rhine

  AERC 2014 was held at the magnificent Karlsruhe conference centre

 

AERC 2014 was held at the magnificent Karlsruhe conference centre

The 9th Annual European Rheology conference (AERC) took place last week in the cultural city of Karlsruhe, located on the banks of the River Rhine in south west Germany.

Karlsruhe itself has a history of innovation with the inventor of the automobile, Carl Benz, and the physicist who discovered electromagnetic waves, Heinrich Hertz, both having roots to the city. Today it is considered one of the most prominent tech cities in Europe so it provided the perfect backdrop for the now well established AERC event.

The scientific programme itself was split up into various sections which focused on key rheological topic areas: from food research and biopolymers, to mirco-fluids and the rheology of foams.  

The 500 delegates were treated to a fantastic conference dinner which was held at the magnificent, and modern, Karlsruhe Centre for Art and Media. The evening was full of great food and drink, beautiful artwork and a stirring live performance from one of the country’s best orchestras.

This was a great opportunity to interact with the delegates - the majority of whom already have a linkam CSS450 stage - to gather their thoughts and perspectives on where they see this expanding field of science being in a few years time.

I would like to thank the whole AERC committee for putting on such a great show. We hope  the 10th show in this fascinating series will be just as good, if not better.

By Ricky Patel

How smart are your windows?

  Developed in the "Mile High" city of Denver, RavenWindows are bringing down sky high energy costs

 

Developed in the "Mile High" city of Denver, RavenWindows are bringing down sky high energy costs

A leading solar technology company in Denver, Colorado has been using a Linkam system to study the quality and composition of liquid crystals in their smart energy windows

These windows automatically control the amount of light, heat and glare that passes through the glass by using a special set of thermochromatic filters made of liquid crystals that change phase dependent on the amount of solar energy exerted on them. 

Mr Wilder Inglesias, R&D manager of RavenBrick LLC , has been using a Linkam PE120 system, including an Imaging Station and Linksys 32 software, he said:"We manufacture smart windows based on liquid crystal (LC) technology. The window tints if the temperature is too hot, blocking solar energy from penetrating the building/house and clears when the temperature is low, allowing the sun's energy to heat up the place."  

He added: "I love the Linksys32 software and the way it presents the information for past runs. Being a software developer for this type of instrument, I really appreciate its simplicity". 

With more companies and homeowners pushing to become 'greener' for both environmental and economic benefits, more research and investment into these smart windows is essential. 

By Ricky Patel

Drug Delivery by the banks of the Dee

  A single crystal of a drug compound grown from a melt using a Linkam stage

 

A single crystal of a drug compound grown from a melt using a Linkam stage

The Robert Gordon University (RGU) is located on the banks of the River Dee in the industrious Scottish city of Aberdeen. This relatively young university, it became one in 1992, has been on the receiving end of some well-deserved acclaim in recent times. Its high rankings in teaching and research led to it being named “Best Modern University in the UK” in 2012 by The Sunday Times newspaper. 

The school of Pharmacy and Life sciences at RGU has been one of the reasons for its rise to the upper echelons of the UK's competitive university league tables. Dr Kerr Matthews, who has been a part of the school for ten years, has been using Linkam LTS and FDCS stages to look at the behaviour of drugs at varying temperatures.

Dr Matthews has focused a lot of time and effort in key interests in the area of drug delivery and formulation science. In particular, he has exclusively undertaken research and development into solid and liquid drug delivery systems. 

For more information about this work, please click here.

by Ricky Patel

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

  California - the home of sea, surf and cutting edge solar research

 

California - the home of sea, surf and cutting edge solar research

Optoelectronic characterisation is field which has rapidly expanded in recent years as a result of the extended research into renewable energy sources such as solar power.

There are not many places better suited to be the home of this research than the so called 'Golden State' of California, where the sun always seems to shine.

Ms. Shermin Arab and her colleagues at the Cronin lab, which is part of the historic University of Southern California, have been using a Linkam THMS600 to look at the behaviour of various nanowires and how they can be altered to optimise the absorption of sunlight.

The results of this research, combined with previous worked carried out by the lab, could potentially allow us to efficiently use stored solar energy when the sun is not shining – which would be perfect for us over here in the rainy UK.

Please click here to read the full press release for this exciting application.

By Ricky Patel

Peace of Mind

"Take a look at yourself and then make a change", sang Michael Jackson, back in 1988, in a song that could be the soundtrack to many a new year's resolution. As we enter the new year we all feel the urge to look at the "man [or woman...] in the mirror" in a bid to improve ourselves. 

We are no different here at Linkam.

This self-appraising attitude has meant that 2014 is shaping up to be a very stimulating and hopefully very rewarding year at Linkam with a newly renovated building, some new members of staff and most importantly, a whole host of new products waiting to be launched.

The first of these new products is the new Linkam Platinum Pro Service.

The Linkam Platinum Pro Service is an all-inclusive priority repair service designed to give you peace of mind in the knowledge that any repair and related shipping costs are already covered.

As part of this service, your Linkam system will also receive priority technical support. If it is found to be damaged or faulty the system will be repaired or replaced in minimum time and rapidly returned without the delays associated with having to involve your purchasing department.

For more information on this product or to request a quote please click here

 

by Ricky Patel

Happy New Year

  A dramatic start to the year on the west coast of England as huge waves crash at Porthcawl, near Bridgend (photograph from BBC news)

 

A dramatic start to the year on the west coast of England as huge waves crash at Porthcawl, near Bridgend (photograph from BBC news)

Wishing you a very Happy New Year from everyone at Linkam.

We are far enough away from the storms that are currently bashing the west coast of England and are fortunate not to have suffered any flood damage despite the huge amount of rain which fell during the Christmas break, so we are happy to report that it's business as usual in Tadworth.

We look forward to bringing you more news, reviews and updates on life at Linkam as we head into 2014.