May's Paper of the Month

May’s ‘Paper of the Month’ is a collaboration between a number of different laboratories and Institutes: the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Nanyang Technological University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

Their paper ‘Multi-scale thermal stability of a hard thermoplastic protein-based material’ determined the thermal properties of a potentially novel and sustainable biopolymer to replace the unsustainable petrochemical polymers we rely so heavily on today. 

The search is on to find alternatives to petrochemical based polymers which can be used to synthesize thermoplastics. But it is challenging because not many biopolymers have the chemical properties required to replace thermoplastics. Even when such properties are induced through chemical processing, the biopolymers often lose the integrity of their physical nature. However, one exception may be Sucker Ring Teeth (SRT), made of a protein called Suckerin, which is found in the tentacles of squid and cuttlefish. 


Lighting the Way

Next week, Linkam will be taking a short trip to Didcot, in Oxfordshire, for the ‘UK Bio-XFEL Single Particle Imaging Workshop’ hosted by Diamond Light Source (the UK’s national synchrotron science facility). The event will take place on the 2nd and 3rd June in the Pickavance Theatre at the Science and Technology Facilities Council, at Harwell. 

The two day workshop is aimed at the life science sector, mainly biological and biomedical. X-ray Free Electron Lasers (X-FEL) have been used by biological researchers in x-ray crystallography, but another application - Single Particle Imaging (SPI) - is gaining rapid attention due to its ability to determine 3D structures without crystallisation. The workshop gives voice to field experts and focuses on encouraging and demonstrating the use of X-FEL for SPI to laboratory scientists.

Come over to our stand to see our cryo-correlative CMS196, the tensile TST350 and the high temperature TS1500.

We look forward to seeing you there and discussing your sample characterisation needs!


Paper of the Month

April’s ‘Paper of the Month’ comes from the Institute of Light and Matter (Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 and French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)), where the project was conceived by Professor Frédéric Caupin.

Rock minerals almost always contain Fluid Inclusions (FIs). These inclusions contain snippets of atmospheric and fluid data trapped at the time of the rock’s formation and thus have been used in the past as proxies to estimate the variability of the Earth’s surface temperature.
These fluid inclusions – upon cooling – can nucleate bubbles within the rock and it is these bubbles that can be studied to determine the ambient temperature at the time the fluid was trapped. 

However this relies on the presence of the nucleation bubble, which is not always there. In this study, Professor Caupin’s group created a new approach which bypasses the need for this nucleation bubble. Their method follows the interaction between laser light and fluid droplets – Raman spectroscopy and Brillouin microscopy – from which paleothermometry data can be drawn.

This approach may provide a novel route to understanding the earth’s climatic history. 


Paper of the Month

    Atomic Force Microscopy optical image of black phosphorous. (Image from Su & Zhang, 2015)


Atomic Force Microscopy optical image of black phosphorous. (Image from Su & Zhang, 2015)

March’s ‘Paper of the Month’ comes from Dr Yong Zhang and Dr Liqin Su at the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC).

In their paper “Temperature coefficients of phonon frequencies and thermal conductivity in black phosphorous layers” (Applied Physics Letters, 2015), Zhang and Su investigate the vibrational properties and electron-phonon interactions of black phosphorous, as well as how epitaxial or supporting substrates can impact the properties of a 2D material which is often presumed to have weak bonding with the substrate.

Black phosphorous is a particularly promising material due to its layer-dependant band gap, meaning it can function as a semi-conductor – essentially, it can be switched on and off. Its application in new nanotechnologies could give rise to a range of high performance electronic and optoelectronic devices.

Read more…


New Video: Cryo-CLEM grid mapping

CMS196M automated mapping of an EM grid at high resolution.  

The cryo-correlative stage, CMS196M can automatically map EM grids at high resolution making it a simple matter to find and record the co-ordinates of the key areas of interest in your sample. The video above shows how easy it is to set up the CMS196M with the new LINK software and create high resolutions maps of the full EM grid.

Freeze Drying Focus Group

pharmaceutics conference Linkam news.png

This March, the Friedrich-Alexander University’s ‘Freeze Drying Focus Group’ will be presented in English for the first time.

The 1 day seminar includes sessions on:

  • The Basic Principles of Freeze Drying
  • The ‘World of Thermal Analysis’ Using Freeze Dry Microscopy — which will be co-presented by Linkam’s Dr Michael Schwertner
  • Defining the quality of a Freeze Dried product
  • Instrument Demonstration and Laboratory Practice
  • Designing a Freeze Drying Cycle
  • and New insights in Freeze Drying of Co-Solvent Systems.

This is the University's Department of Pharmaceutics’ 11th Annual Seminar, and it is an event that has always proved very popular in the past.  

The seminar brings together people from academia, the pharmaceutical industry and vendors & suppliers of equipment to initiate sound scientific discussions in the field of freeze drying and also provides updates on the latest trends and research interests in this field.

Our FDCS196 Freeze Drying Cryo Stage will be on show throughout the day. 

More information and details on how to register for the seminar can be found here.

Paper of the Month

    Dr Matt Gibson using the Linkam BCS196 cryobiology stage to study ice recrystallisation inhibition activity.


Dr Matt Gibson using the Linkam BCS196 cryobiology stage to study ice recrystallisation inhibition activity.

January’s ‘Paper(s) of the Month’ come from the Gibson Group at the University of Warwick, a research group led by Dr Matt Gibson.

Matt and his group work at the interface of the organic and polymer chemistries with the life sciences, making use of modern polymer and organic methods to synthesise nano materials for various applications, including regenerative medicine, infectious disease and biotechnology.

Inspired by the evolutionary survival methods of polar region species, such as freeze avoidance using antifreeze (glyco)proteins (AFPs), the team has been working on the design and synthesis of polymer-based AFP mimics as novel new cryoprotectants for cell cryopreservation. They hope this will ultimately improve the availability of transplantable materials for regenerative medicine.


New Year, New Products

     Linkam stage. Photo by Linkam's Jim Hayward


Linkam stage. Photo by Linkam's Jim Hayward

Welcome back everybody, and a Happy New Year!

At Linkam we have set ourselves a couple of resolutions for the year 2016.

Firstly, we will seek more feedback regarding our stages, so we can continue to refine them to best meet our users’ wants and needs. We hope this is something you might be able to help us with and look forward to talking with you all a bit more over the coming year.

Secondly, we will release a whole range of exciting new products, including our new LINK64 software. 

For updates keep an eye on the website, and on our Twitter and LinkedInpages. Or, if you want to come and see us in person, you can find details of the trade shows Linkam, and our distributors, will be attending in 2016 over on our events page.

Liquid Crystal Microphotography with Linkam

     Nematic Liquid Crystals. Photo by Dr Vance Williams, Simon Fraser University.


Nematic Liquid Crystals. Photo by Dr Vance Williams, Simon Fraser University.

We recently discovered an amazing liquid crystal photo gallery, with a collection of microphotographs all taken using a Linkam LTS350 stage (predecessor to the LTS420).

The photos were taken by Dr Vance Williams, an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, who is Principal Investigator in an organic materials chemistry group called the Williams Research Group.

Read more here.

Paper of the Month

    Representative image of SYTO®13 (green)/EB (red) fluorescence used for membrane integrity assay. Green cells have intact membranes and red cells have damaged membranes. Picture from Prickett et al., 2015.


Representative image of SYTO®13 (green)/EB (red) fluorescence used for membrane integrity assay. Green cells have intact membranes and red cells have damaged membranes. Picture from Prickett et al., 2015.

November's Paper of the Month is now live! 

It comes from a team at the University of Alberta, who have been studying how intracellular ice formation during cryopreservation of cells is affected by the degree of supercooling and the cell volume.

In this study the number of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) undergoing intracellular ice formation at different degrees of supercooling were examined on a cryostage. Intracellular freezing can be detected by the darkening of cells. Cell survival after thawing was determined using a membrane integrity assay. In the picture above, the cells with intact membranes can be seen in green and the cells with damaged membranes can be seen in red.

Read about their findings on our blog.