Welcome to the MBL inverted microscope. This apparatus is based on an Olympus IX71 inverted microscope body, and designed with the goals of providing high-sensitivity, high-pixel count images of samples in fluorescence, transmission, and DIC modes. These pages provide information on the components of the microscope and general guidelines for daily startup, use, and shutdown of the system. All users must read and follow these guidelines.

Modern microscopy is a complex art, so while these pages attempt to provide useful information, a complete description of all the tips, tricks, capabilities, and warnings cannot be encompassed here. If you have questions on the use or capabilities of this microscope, please consult with Prof. Kam or another knowledgeable person in the lab.


General instructions:

Startup instructions:

  • For fluorescence: Turn on power supply for mercury arc lamp.
    • Do not restart lamp within 30 minutes of shutting it down.
    • Note the hours that hours that the blub has been used (indicated on the power supply). Bulbs last from 200 to 500 hours.
  • For DIC: Turn on power supply for overhead lighting.
  • Turn on Ludl shutter/filter wheel control unit.
    • For normal use, the three shutter controls (three leftmost switches) should be in the down position.
  • Turn on power supply for the Hamamatsu camera. It takes 30 minutes for the CCD to cool to a stable temperature, providing minimal dark current.
  • Log in under the appropriate account.

Important operating guidelines:

  • Before starting a microscopy session, take a moment to think through the light path of your experiment, noting where shutters, filters, and slaiders should be. In particular, know the role and function of the lamps, neutral density filters, filter cube turret,
  • It is possible for the excitation light to contain a portion of UV wavelengths, particularly when using the triple dichroic cube for multi-wavelength microscopy. Avoid exposing yourself to this light. Note that it is possible to send this excitation light to the binoculars, particularly in the multicolor imaging mode.
  • Be mindful of which objectives are oil immersion and which are not. After use of an oil immersion objective, remove oil by gently wicking away with a Kimwipe, and then wiping gently with lens paper.
  • Be careful to not run the objectives into the stage.
  • Changing objectives is limited to the doctroal students in the lab and Prof. Kam. Please find one of us if you need a different objective.
  • When MetaMorph is running, Do NOT fine focus using the microscope knob. The Z-drive is active, so fine focussing is done through the knob on the side of the joystick controller.
  • Do not turn off the fluorescence lamp before at least 15 minutes of on-time have elapsed.
  • The '"MBL" and "Users" directories are free to use, but please write data to CDs or DVDs on a regular basis.

Shutdown procedures:

  • Check to see if other users will be using the microscope. If there are no other users for the day, turn off the microscope:
  • Log out from the users session in Windows XP
  • Turn off camera power supply.
  • Turn off Ludl controller.
  • Turn off power supplies to the two lamps. Do not restart the Mercury arc lamp within 30 minutes of shutting it down.
  • Once the microscope has cooled (at least 30 minutes), put the dust cover back on the microscope.

Two good resources for background on microscopy: