affordable high-resolution digital microscope camera
We have developed for in-house use at q.e.d. labs a
high resolution digital microscope stage for crystal observation. We
use the same optics for a fully automated proprietary
system, and offer the design now in a manual version. The digital
system is less expensive and more capable than commercial stereo
microscopes normally used for manual crystal observations. Ideal
also for classroom and crystallization course work demonstrations.
to the modular design, all CrysCam systems are available with
(or can later be upgraded with) a motorized x-y stage and become a
fully automated, low cost crystal observation station
including automated image acquisition software. The
x-y stage was developed in collaboration with
Instruments and complements the reliable and proven
Phoenix crystallization robot.
Advantages of the digital CrysCamTM
A combination of high resolution digital camera and
quality optics together with a non-heating LED lighting platform and
included image capture and analysis software provides an ideal
instrument for crystal observation, on-line documentation,
and production of time lapse
Japan-made quality 0.75-3x (1:4) zoom optics provide nominal
magnification of 144x exceeding the magnification of most stereo
microscopes. In addition, an adjustable iris lens allows for
optimal image contrast and depth of field adjustments. Working
distance of ~60 mm (>2 inches) allows comfortable crystal
harvesting even at maximum resolution.
digital CMOS CrysCam works with any non-fluorescent top
lightning, and also includes a low heat, adjustable white
LED (warm or
cool white as option) lighting base. The power consumption is so low, that for
lecture demonstrations no
external power supply is needed and 4 AA batteries provides days
of backlighting power (AC adapter is also included). Alternatively, any basic halogen desk
lamp or a USB laptop LED light provides ample lighting for crisp crystal images.
A linear polarizing base insert and analyzer attached to the
optics is included in the standard system.
Digital imaging: a
2.0 Mpix 1/2" CMOS color camera with 1600x1200 pixel
resolution provides crisp images at a low minimum illumination
of 3 lux and
six different capture resolutions from 160x120 to 1600x1200. Software driven
auto-exposure allows live video observation, time-lapse image capture,
of high resolution images, exceeding the resolution even of
expensive CCD cameras. The time lapse capture allows easy recording
of crystallization movies (see examples).
Laptop or desktop - your choice. CrysCams do not need any
external power supplies, making them also ideal for live lecture
and workshop presentations. The low power CMOS camera can be
powered from any USB 2 laptop port (laptops usually provide
sufficient power to drive the USB camera). A special USB 2 card
for desktops (older ones may not deliver sufficient
power for the on-board USB 2 ports) is included - just in case.
The LED base light can be operated from battery without the
Image capture software:
Included professional Windows-based image capturing
software makes capturing and
enhancing images a breeze. Varying resolution ranges let you
choose between optimal quality and minimum disk space
requirements. Auto-exposure and auto-enhance features in the
capture module and time lapse capture allow you to import
perfect image sequences into Windows Movie Maker (distributed
with Windows XP) to create time lapse movies of crystal growth.
Measuring features and markers allow annotation on the image if
Example images and
Lysozyme micro crystals at high
magnification: zoom video,
Single images, smallest:
both light sources
movie of micro-crystallization
high resolution 1280x1024 jpeg image (both need
expanded screen in Windows Internet Explorer)
Standard System Specifications (Feb 2006):
high quality, Japan-made
manual 4:1 zoom ratio optical system with
optional manual iris
provides a working distance of 60 mm and a nominal magnification
of about 144x, sufficient to image and detect crystals as
small as ~5 microns. Fine and coarse manual z-adjustment for easy
focusing. With custom designed
linear polarizer assembly.
Camera: 1.3 Mpix
CMOS color camera with resolution of 1600x1200 provides
crisp images at a low minimum illumination of 3 lux, needs only
USB2 connection. Windows USB 2 drivers included. Works with full
USB2 compliant laptop ports.
1600x1200 maximal image resolution, six different capture resolutions from
160x120 to 1600x1200,
and live motion video at 640x480
resolution and 30 frames per second. At higher
resolution, live motion frame rate drops to 10-20 frames per second.
Software allows easy time-lapse image capture.
machined, anodized aluminum base with 4 dampening cushion feet
includes low power, adjustable white LED lighting with 25 mm diameter
frosted acrylic diffuser inserts,
and a linear polarizer. Four AA
batteries under the base of provides days of backlighting power.
Alternatively, any basic halogen desk lamp or USB laptop LED
light (available in office
supply stores) provides perfect top
lighting for crisp crystal images. AC power supply included.
Image capture software:
Included professional Windows XP based image capturing
Resolution settings let you choose between optimal quality and
minimum disk space requirements. Auto-exposure and auto-enhance
features in the capture module and time lapse capture allow you
to import perfect image sequences into Windows Movie Maker
(distributed with Windows XP) to create time lapse movies of
crystal growth. Measuring/calibration features and markers allow
annotation on the image if desired.
to the modular design, if you decide to upgrade your microscope at a
later date, we will gladly provide a quote for component exchanges.
System requirements for computer:
Laptop or Desktop, Windows XP SP2,
Pentium 4, 1 GHz or above
processor (or AMD Athlon 2600 XP), 256
MB RAM, 400 MB free disk space, USB 2.0, 32 MB video card and CD-ROM drive. For some
older desktop computers, you will need to
install a USB 2.0 card as your computer may not be able to
supply sufficient power to drive the camera. Please email
your computer specifications if unsure.
High magnification, manual
6.4:1 zoom ratio optical system optional
manual iris provides a working distance of ~90 mm and a nominal
magnification of 214x
sufficient to image and detect crystals as small as ~3 microns. Motorized zoom optics for automated image
acquisition stages are available. Please contact us for
computer interfaced x-y stage:
High resolution, precise X-Y stage easily mounts
to the CrysCam base. The stage can be purchased with the CrysCam
or easily added on later and turns the CrysCam into a
crystallization observation station. The included software
automatically captures and stores images to disk in less than
two minutes. Captures an entire plate or a single well. The
stage has a resolution of .00013 inch. Please see ontact
Art Robbins for quotes on all x-y stage equipped systems.
There are absolutely no user serviceable components
in this practically indestructible instrument. Each instrument is
test-run and shipped with a set of images recorded
with it during quality assurance testing. If something breaks, or you cannot install the software, its is
probably because you did not follow the instructions. Please read the instructions,
all of it, in the right sequence.
Optics: 90 days
warranty. If an optical component breaks, you have dropped it, stepped on it, or
thrown it at somebody, all of which voids the warranty.
Lighting: 30 days.
That is about the time it takes until someone figures out a way
to improve the circuit, power it with solar cells, replace the
LEDs with light bulbs, or put the CrysCam into a acid filled
sink. All of which voids the warranty. We ship cheap spare
modules in that case. But they should last forever under normal
Camera: 90 days. A
CMOS color camera can be destroyed by a variety of hostile
actions, like poking into the chip, zapping a laser into it,
dropping it, tapping on it with hard objects, or using it as a
missile. All of the above and even remotely associated actions,
including detaching it from the optics, void the warranty. There
is UV fluorescent Loktite on all optics threads. A few bright
background/dark current pixels visible at extremely low lighting
are normal for CMOS chips.
Base, post and Z-drive:
One year warranty. These sturdy metal pieces can only be
destroyed by willful abuse, which voids the the warranty in any
Image capture software:
30 days original manufacturer warranty, limited to media
replacement. Sold as is.