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.

Raman Microscopy with Bruker and Linkam

Linkam LTS420 Heating Stage on the Bruker Senterra RamanLast week, Linkam were given an opportunity to meet with some of the team at Bruker Scientific at their state of the art facility just outside Coventry in the UK.

During the visit, we had a hands-on session with one of the leading pieces of equipment in the Raman Spectroscopy field – the Senterra Raman Microscope. The Senterra integrates a multi laser Raman spectrometer with a confocal microscope. This can be used in various analytical and research applications, including; Pharmaceuticals, Forensics, Art Conservation and Mineralology just to name a few. These applications can be carried out under an accurate temperature controlled environment by combining the Senterra with various Linkam heating stages.  

We would like to thank the Paul Turner, Owen Wilkin, Trevor Todd and Colin Barrow at Bruker for their great hospitality during the visit.

Ricky Patel

Smart Materials – the optical characterization of VO2


Horiba UVISEL ellipsometer with Linkam THMSEL600

Recently, during a visit to Horiba in Chilly-Mazarin, with ellipsometer applications expert Céline Eypert I was excited to see Linkam products being used in the analysis of smart materials – materials that will greatly influence our daily lives.

One such material, VO2 , a material that exhibits a very fast semiconductor metal transition point, has a whole range of potential applications, due to its electrical and optical properties. Electrical resistivity can decrease by several orders of magnitude across the transition, and optically the material changes from being transparent as a semiconductor to reflective in the metallic state.

The Horiba UVISEL ellipsometer with its high performance and broad spectral range, in combination with the Linkam heating stage for highly accurate and precise temperature control, provides the perfect instrumentation to characterize these amazing materials.

For the full Horiba application note please visit the Horiba ellipsometry applications page

Many Thanks to Céline Eypert, Mélanie Gaillet and Jean-Paul Gaston for sharing the information with us.

Ian Pearce

10 Years Of Partnership with Biopharma Technology


This year Linkam are celebrating 10 years of successful partnership with Biopharma Technology Limited in supplying freeze-drying solutions to the pharmaceutical industry.

Founded in 1997, Biopharma Technology Limited (BTL) develop freeze drying solutions to multiple materials in the world of pharmaceuticals. For those of us who are not so familiar with freeze drying, or ‘lyophilisation’ as it is also known, it is a method of processing a liquid product into a dry solid product.

Early days at BTL saw homemade instrumentation based on ideas originating at Porton Down, but in 2001 Director of Research at BTL, Dr Kevin Ward, came across Linkam and our range of temperature controlled stages. 

The two companies went on to develop a number of instruments, the latest being the Lyostat 3 freeze drying microscope.  The Lyostat3 system uses polarized light microscopy to capture images of the sample’s structural changes as temperature increases, information that is vital for successful freeze drying.

The combination of BTL’s applications knowledge and Linkam’s instrumentation expertise brings a real added-value product to the freeze drying market place. For Linkam, it has been a real benefit being at the leading edge of an exciting and growing market.

Posted by Rosie Hider

Out of adversity comes an opportunity


 Thermo's DXR-Micro Raman with Linkam System

At 6.03 am on Sunday 11th December 2005, a huge blast at Buncefield fuel depot on the outskirts of Hemel Hempstead caused chaos and serious devastation to a lot of industries in the surrounding area, including the building that was home to the Thermo-Fisher-Scientific instrument group. The severity of the explosion caused irreparable damage, which gave Thermo-Fisher the opportunity to make a brand new state of the art facility from scratch and within 2 years, the new site was up and fully functional.

Around two weeks ago, Ian Pearce and I got the chance to experience this magnificent new building. The reason behind the visit was to get a firsthand look at the Thermo-Fisher DXR Micro Raman spectroscopy system and confirm compatibility with a few of our Linkam stages, namely the THMS600LTS420 and TS1500.

Linkam would like to thank Thermo-Fisher for the hospitality that was shown to us during the visit and also for reminding us all of the age old saying “out of adversity comes an opportunity”. 

Posted by Ricky Patel

Equipment without Training is Inventory

National Guard white powder identification training

As much as I would like to, I can’t take credit for the title of this piece. This catchy little phrase came from one of our U.S. National Guard Bureau students.

We train the National Guard in the identification of white powders and other suspicious materials. I think the above catchphrase sums up nicely the value of training - and I’m including the training one gets from a sales rep - as well as more formalized instructor-led hands-on training.

I can’t tell you how many times we would arrive at a customer’s laboratory and see equipment still in boxes, even years after the purchase, because the end user couldn’t justify the funds for training to their immediate supervisor.

National Guard white powder identification training

Let’s stop building up our inventory and start actually using the equipment for its intended purpose — to solve problems. Of course using the hardware properly is just one half of the equation, the other half resides between your ears. Being able to make informed analytical judgments is more powerful than the equipment itself. That’s an investment in yourself—probably the most important piece of equipment in today’s laboratory. 

Guest Posted by Chuck Zona, Vice President and Dean of Hooke College of Applied Sciences, IL, USA 


Product News – Small Angle Scattering at Elevated Temperatures

Linkam Scientific's heating stages are increasingly being used in the x-ray world, and a recent product developed with Thorsten Hegmann at the University of Manitoba means that normal transmission and grazing incidence studies can be carried out using the same heating/freezing stage.

Working with a Rigaku SAXS spectrometer, the Linkam HFSX350-GI can allow spectral data to be acquired across a temperature range of -196°C to +350°C under evacuated conditions.

Torsten Hegmanns group have been using the new stage to successfully characterize their liquid crystal nanoparticle composite materials.

 Posted by Ian Pearce

Olympus again attempts to scale the microscopy mountain

The past two weeks have marked the arrival of all things new here at Linkam - the New Year was quickly followed by the official unveiling of our new website and now, we have managed to get our hands on a brand new Olympus BX53 microscope! (Be it only for a month).

The highly anticipated BX53 is part of the BX3 range of upright microscopes that Olympus hope will be at the cutting edge of both clinical and research microscopy. The new design allows for a large level of flexibility for the users to “define their own working environment” allowing for unique customisations without affecting the quality of the images seen. One of the big features of this new BX53 is that it is the first ambidextrous microscope from Olympus, which gives a high level of freedom to users in regards to where they place controls.

Another improvement Olympus have made is in the aesthetics department; the sleek and stylish design is visually very pleasing on the eye, and is made even better when one of our Linkam THMS600 stages are placed upon it!

We would like to thank Olympus UK for lending us this equipment and we hope to be carrying out a lot more product testing in the near future.

Ricky Patel

Hanging out with the Liquid Crystal Elite


This week, Linkam is attending the 23rd International Liquid Crystal conference in Krakow along with 650 of the world’s top liquid crystal scientists. 
With over 180 oral presentations and 1000 posters, the show covered numerous new developments with ferroelectric LC’s including work on nanoparticles, traditional nematic materials and some blue phase work. 
Many delegates are existing Linkam users and have provided really positive feedback about our products as well as a host of ideas for future instrument developments.
 Linkam is exhibiting with LC-Vision from Boulder, Colorado, highlighting the integration possibilities between the LCAS-3 system and the Linkam LTSE350 hot stage. 
A complete system enables accurate temperature control with image capture to be combined with a range of electrical measurements, including the elastic constants K11, K22, K33  rotational viscosity and dielectric properties (parallel and perpendicular). 
Thanks to all those who visited our booth and a special thanks to Monika Marzec whose organisation made the exhibition run so smoothly.


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 for more information.' 


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


Thin Film Tensile Testing App Note

We have received a couple more great application notes involving our Tensile Testing Stage the TST350.

These two come from the folks at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.
Here's the 'Introduction' from the App Note,
'Fragmentation Test Method for Adhesion Analysis of Coatings In Situ in a Microscope'.
You can read the full application note on our website.
'Mechanical integrity is a key attribute of coatings, which should not crack and delaminate during processing and during service life. Numerous methods are available to determine the adhesion of coatings, including tape and pull-out tests, and indentation and scratch techniques. The accuracy of these methods is however compromised by the presence of 'third body interactions', such as indenter-coating friction in case of scratch and indentation tests, or adherent-coating traction in case of peel and pull-out tests. The fragmentation test method detailed in the present note is free of third-body interactions. It enables quantifying the cohesive properties (which control cracking) and the adhesive properties (which control delamination) of coatings on high-elongation substrates. The method has been used to analyze a broad range of coating/substrate combinations, including inorganic coatings on polymers [1-3] and steel (e.g, [4]) and organic coatings on polymers (e.g., [e.g, [5]). The following section introduces the theory of coating fragmentation and calculation of the adhesive strength. The experimental conditions are detailed in a further section. Finally two application examples are given to illustrate the method, with focus on adhesive strength of an organic coating on a PET substrate, and a transparent electrode on a PEN substrate.'
With Thanks to Dr. Manfred Feustel of Resultec Analytical Equipment for his collaboration.