Pawel Pasierbek, PhD.
IMP and IMBA
The Best of Both Worlds:
High Performance and Low Maintenance
- The IMP-IMBA-GMI BioOptics Core is an impressive facility. Tell us about the services you offer to researchers.
- We currently manage more than 30 microscopy systems, including wide-field florescence microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), two-photon (2P) microscopy, total internal reflection (TIRF) microscopy, structured illumination microscopy (SIM) and light sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) techniques as well as automated slide scanning for samples with or without fluorescence. Our facility provides operating assistance and training on all instrumentation, as well as technical consultation on all aspects of microscopy, to around 250 researchers. Additionally we are responsible for maintenance and configuration of our systems in order to provide the best service to our users.
- What performance characteristics of microscope light sources are most important in terms of meeting your service demands?
- As a service facility, we are challenged with accommodating a wide spectrum of experimental protocols as well as logistical and scheduling issues. On some microscopes, fluorescence is needed many times a day but for only a very short time. On others, experiments are done repeatedly and illumination intensity is expected to be stable over a long period of time. Mercury lamps are far from optimal for meeting these requirements. Many switching cycles reduce their lifespan and intensity varies as the bulb ages. They also need warm-up and cooling time, leading to long periods where they are switched on without being productively used. Taken together with the intrinsically short lifespan, this leads to excessive system down time, continual maintenance demands for exchanging bulbs, and increased material and energy costs.
- How have Lumencor Light Engines helped you to address these challenges?
- Lumencor´s SOLA SM light engines are a great alternative to traditional mercury lamps. They are stable over time, their illumination is spatially uniform, they have a long lifespan and there is no performance drop-off over repeated switching cycles.In addition, the solid state illuminators don´t need to warm up and can be switched off and on instantaneously. You have the best of both worlds: system performance is optimized and money is saved because of reduced down time. Together with lower material and energy costs and fewer maintenance demands, this makes the SOLA SM an optimal light source for our service facility.