At the sharp end

You swallow a pill and you expect it to work.

The most common method of administering medicine

However, orally delivered drugs have many obstructions: they have to withstand stomach acid, pass across intestinal cell membranes, avoid destruction in the liver, and are affected by the presence of food and/or other medicines.

But oral medicines are economical, convenient, you don't (usually) need someone else to help you take them, you can accurately monitor your own dose, and don't need any special equipment (no scary needles).

While oral administration is the most common there is also parenteral administration by intravenous, intramuscular and subcutaneous injections.

The parenteral method is prefferable as it is more efficient, but it is costly - both in the development and the administration. At the moment only a few medicines, such as insulin, are delivered this way.

Dr. Jingjing Liu from the Institute for Particle Science and Engineering at University of Leeds has looked at ways of reducing the cost of production of protein crystals that are a part of protein-based medicines - which are usually administered by injection. Historically, medicine manufacturers have faced challenges growing crystals on an industrial scale as they require specific complex nutrient solutions.  

Dr Liu is using the Linkam LTS350 stage in his research on the growth behaviour of multiple crystals of hen egg white lysozyme. He said: “One of the advantages of the Linkam stage is that larger volumes of liquid can be used which in turn generate more crystals.”

This research is fundamental to further understanding the behaviour of crystal growth in a population and provides crucial information for the design, optimization and control of industrial-scale protein crystallization.

Scaling up this vital research is the first step to competing with pill-based medicine.

Flares of Enterprise

A few weeks ago newspapers were flooded with images of the sun emitting a huge solar flare. How huge? Well, take a look at a short video here

Imagine harnessing that energy.

Size comparison of the solar flare compared to earth. Don't worry, in reality we are not that close.

Solar power often faces criticism as an alternative energy due to its low conversion efficiency, but this doesn't necessarily limit its value. A scienitist called Matthias Loster has produced a solar power map of the world here showing how we don't have to cover the whole earth with ugly solar panels to make every other source of energy obsolete. In fact, the panels just need to be positioned in the sunniest spots on earth.

Solar power truly is a great answer to our power needs. Yes, there are costs involved and solar technologies do still need a lot of work, but to change something from an idea to a usauble product you need to take action.

Some scientists at the Cohen lab at the University of Oregon are doing just this and are aiming to create inexpensive, efficient, thin film solar cells. D.W.Miller, a Graduate Research Fellow with the group, said: "Most of our experiments are built to work on a functioning solar cell".

Using a Linkam LTS350-W-PB4 stage they can take advantage of how a photovoltaic device works to study fundamental properties of the components of the solar device. In order to do their experiment they had to modify the Linkam stage by building an additional contacting system comprising a series of spring loaded flexible steel rod arms with gold pogos at the end. This enterprising set-up gives them a firm, stable electrical contact with their sample at all temperatures.

When asked about the benefits of the Linkam stage, D.W.Miller added: "There are tons. They are  more reliable, they sweep temperature more rapidly and stabilize more quickly at temperature, they provide easier access to the sample, are sturdier and more efficient".

Its always fascinating to find out how our customers use our stages, but in this case it is extra special to see how our original design has been a source of innovation and creation, and is now helping a very industrious group of scientists work towards solving the energy problems of tommorrow.

by Caroline Feltham


The Cryo Microscopy Group (CMG) in Nottingham November 2011

On the 16th of November 2011 we attended the Cryo Microscopy Group meeting. It seemed very appropriate that the meeting was held in the Boots Science Building, School of Pharmacy, at the University of Nottingham, whose motto is “A City is Built on Wisdom”.  It was here that international speakers and forward thinkers in cryo-microscopy came to network and talk about best practice. 

We took the LTS420, THMS600 and FDCS196 heating/freezing stages along with our popular Imaging Station.  Delegates were extremely interested in the wide range of applications and unparalleled temperature control offered by Linkam products. 

Linkam Scientific Exhibition standThe atmosphere was light hearted and the number of exhibitions truly impressive. We had the great pleasure of meeting many of our existing customers and pleased to introduce our range to some new faces whilst hopefully answering all of your questions.

All in all it was a very enjoyable day (Great Cakes!) and a first for me, representing a company at an exhibition, something I hope to do again soon. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at the meeting for being so welcoming and for making it a very enjoyable and interesting event for all of us.

by Caroline Feltham

Linkam's LTS350 helps our understanding of icy bodies in the solar system

Images of N2 clathrate hydrates obtained at temperatures ranging from 123 to 266°K over a period of 30 minutes.

The opening article of Microscopy and Analysis this month (Issue 144) features our very own LTS350 stage in use by the Ice Physics Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Dr Mathieu Choukroun, and rest of the team in the Ice Physics Laboratory have been measuring the thermophysical properties of icy compositions relevant to geophysical applications. The goal of this project is to help understand the thermal evolution and behaviour of icy bodies in the solar system, and help explain exciting phenomena such as cryovolcanism, plate tectonics and tidal heating on these celestial bodies.

The scientists also hope these studies will bring them closer to discovering whether there could be glacial lakes and oceans beneath the icy surfaces on other planets (as suggested by missions like Galileo.)  ...there may even be unfrozen water and you know what that means? That's right, the possibility of life...Extra Terrestrial life - our stages could be partly responsible for discovering E.T!!!!! exciting stuff eh?

You can read more about this interesting study on our Application Notes page...although there's nothing about the discovery of aliens.... yet.

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

Queen's University in Canada Selects Linkam Temperature Stages to Characterize Ferroelectric Liquid Crystals

image sourced from Prof Lemieux's Group at Queen's University
Market leaders in temperature controlled microscopy, Linkam Scientific Instruments, have been used as temperature stage suppliers to Queen's University in Canada for ten years to study the properties of ferroelectric liquid crystals.
The research program of Professor Robert Lemieux and his Kingston, Ontario- based team focuses on the rational design of chiral and achiral molecular components of ferroelectric liquid crystal mixtures based on principles of self-assembly and molecular recognition.
Understanding the thermal properties of liquid crystals is crucial to the establishment of structure-property relationships that are useful in the design of new materials with improved properties. For example, in the design of 'de Vries-like' liquid crystals, the focus is on changes occurring at the SmA-SmC phase transition, both in terms of the order of the phase transition as well as changes in physical properties such as birefringence. As such, the use of thermal polarized optical microscopy allows the observation of texture changes at the SmA-SmC phase transition that provides useful information on such changes, and the Linkam LTS-350 hot stage used provides precise temperature control for this purpose.
The design of the LTS-350 hot stage also makes possible the integration of thermal polarized optical microscopy with the automated Liquid Crystal Analysis System (LCAS-1) by LC Vision in a convenient, turn-key fashion. This is used to measure the spontaneous polarization and optical tilt angle of ferroelectric SmC* liquid crystals induced by a variety of chiral dopants. These measurements are normally performed as a function of temperature using the LTS-350 hot stage.
The Linkam Liquid Crystal Pro system is in use by scientists all over the world. Leading academic and industrial research scientists have made the LTSE350 their preferred choice because of the high degree of control of heating rates, accuracy and long term stability for temperature controlled studies using light microscopes and other spectrometer platforms. It is optimised for liquid crystal sample analysis having fast heating rates up to 30°C/min and excellent thermal stability over the range from -196°C to 350°C. The stage consists of a large area temperature controlled element with a 100 Ohm platinum resistor sensor embedded close to the surface for accurate temperature measurements. It may be operated with Linksys32 DV Imaging software and a QICAM digital camera to provide fully indexed images at predefined points in the temperature profile. For a completely integrated solution, the system can be used with the Linkam Imaging Station to provide an ergonomic platform for easy sample handling without the need for a stand-alone optical microscope.


content originally posted at Nanowerk

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.


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