Light BYTES – November 2020: Intensity Control Linearity in Lumencor’s New Generation of Light Engines

Lumencor’s new Generation of Light Engines: Intensity Control linearity

AURA, RETRA, SPECTRA, CELESTA and ZIVA light engines, as well as the newly refreshed SOLA light engine for 2021, incorporate on-board microprocessors, providing impressive advances in control and monitoring capabilities. One such advancement is linear intensity control. Each of these illuminators generate optical power that has a precisely linear relationship to intensity settings across all colors, providing more quantitive and predictable responses for users. In the case of white light, constant color temperature is achievable regardless of output power. Just another reason customers who care about performance come to Lumencor for solid state illumination.

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Parallel Light Engine Performance monitoring Using the Onboard Control GUI

Parallel Light Engine Performance monitoring Using the Onboard Control GUI

AURA, CELESTA, RETRA, SPECTRA, and ZIVA Light Engines incorporate a control GUI accessed through a web browser via an ethernet connection.  Image acquisition applications used to control the light engine though connection of either the USB or RS232 serial ports can be run in parallel with ethernet-connected control GUI to aid in trouble-shooting.  As shown in Figure 1, this allows the light engine to be controlled by the image acquisition software, while the GUI serves as a passive monitor of the light engine status.

Figure 1.  Screenshots of parallel operation of image acquisition software (NIS Elements, left) and CELESTA Light Engine Control GUI (right).  A. NIS Elements command to turn on red light output at 21.7% is inoperative.  Examination of the GUI display reveals that this is due to an open interlock condition (e.g. no optical fiber connected to the light engine output port).  B. After closing the interlock, the same NIS Elements command results in light output, indicated by the filled red channel radio button and non-zero output power reading in the GUI.

The control GUI displays many types of information pertinent to the performance of the light engine that are not accessible in current releases of most image acquisition software packages.   These include:

  • Real-time light output power readouts
  • Standby mode status
  • Light engine operating software error messages
  • Humidity/dew point data
  • Serial port configuration
  • TTL port configuration
  • Cumulative run time data

In cases where the PC being used for image acquisition control has a single ethernet port that is dedicated to internet access, a USB-to-ethernet adapter (Figure 2) can be used for connection to the light engine control GUI.  USB-to-ethernet adapters are readily available from online vendors for less than $20.

Figure 2. USB-to-ethernet adapter






October 2020 Application spotLIGHT: Single-cell Characterization of Immunization Responses with SOLA light engine

Single-cell Characterization of Immunization Responses

The current Covid-19 pandemic has sparked an urgent need for improvements in the characterization of the immune response to vaccinations. Although simple and robust, conventional antibody titer measurements provide little information on the phenotypic diversity of IgG-secreting cells (IgG-SCs), the functional properties of the antibodies they produce or the temporal profile of the immune reaction in response to an antigenic challenge. In a recent paper published in the Journal of Immunology [1] and other recent publications [2,3], a team of researchers based in Paris and Zurich describe the application of a single-cell analysis technique known as DropMap to provide quantitative analysis of the distribution of antibody secretion rates and affinities over the course of an immune response. The DropMap protocol begins with microfluidically controlled compartmentalization of single splenocytes, extracted from mice at time points up to 8 weeks after immunization, in individual 50-picoliter droplets together with immunomagnetic beads and fluorescently-labeled antigens and anti-IgG antibodies. The beads are magnetically aligned to form micrometer-sized structures that can be visualized by fluorescence microscopy using a SOLA light engine.  Bead capture of red-fluorescent anti-IgG (Fc) identifies IgG-SCs, allowing determination of their frequency.  Capture of green-fluorescent antigen provides information on antigen binding affinity. To accumulate population statistics, two-dimensional arrays containing >10,000 cell-containing droplets are imaged every 7.5 minutes over 37.5 minutes. The SOLA light engine provides the exceptional light output stability required to extract reliable quantitative information across thousands of droplets and multiple time points.


[1]  K Eyer,  C Castrillon, J Baudry et al. J Immunol (2020) 205:1176–1184

[2]  Y Bounab, K Eyer, C Védrine et al.  Nat Protoc (2020) 15:2920–2955

[3] K Eyer, RCL Doineau, J Baudry et al. Nat Biotechol (2017) 35:977–982

Download PDF of Lumencor Application spotLIGHT October 2020

Industrial SpotLIGHT – September 2020: SOLA SM light engine® Provides High-speed Imaging for Material Science Applications

High-Speed Imaging of Powder Bed Fusion

Metal additive manufacturing is the process of joining materials to make objects from 3D computer-aided design (CAD) model data.  Laser powder bed fusion (PBF) is one such process, in which thermal energy derived from a laser beam selectively fuses regions of a powder bed.  A team from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and the University of Birmingham in the UK used high-speed imaging to investigate the interaction of the laser beam with the powder bed at sub-atmospheric pressures.  They used a SOLA SM Light Engine® to illuminate a circle of ~10 mm diameter on a stainless steel powder bed inside a vacuum chamber.  Image sequences were recorded at 40,000 frames per second by a monochrome camera.  The data obtained indicate that operating in a soft vacuum (>50 mbar) would provide the simplest implementation of PBF at sub-atmospheric pressures.  The reduction in vaporization temperature at reduced pressure means that the same penetration depth can be achieved at lower laser powers, resulting in a stabilizing effect on the process.

High-speed images at 20mbar. Laser power and scan speeds of (a) 50W and 0.2m/s, (b) 100W and 0.4m/s and (c) 200W and 0.8m/s.

Article Reference: P. Bidare, I. Bitharas, R.M. Ward, M.M. Attallah, A.J. Moore, Laser powder bed fusion at sub-atmospheric pressures, International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture, Volumes 130–131, 2018, Pages 65-72

Download the PDF of Lumencor Application spotLIGHT: September 2020

Lumencor, Inc., Named Makers & Manufacturers Honoree in Portland Business journal Product Innovation Awards, 2020

Lumencor, Inc. has been named 2020 Product Innovation of the Year honoree by the Portland Business Journal for our next generation SOLA light engine®. Each year, the PBJ honors the region’s top manufacturing companies who drive the economy with innovation, excellence and productivity. The new generation SOLA features increased power, longevity, stability and robustness over the projected 15 year life time with no replacement parts. Lumencor’s SOLA light engine is used in fluorescence microscopy for life science and materials science applications… Read Press Release

Find out more about the Innovation Award


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