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Multi-modal microscopy imaging with the OpenFlexure Delta Stage.

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Ayazi, Filip 
Collins, Joel 
Knapper, Joe 
Stirling, Julian 


Microscopes are vital pieces of equipment in much of biological research and medical diagnostics. However, access to a microscope can represent a bottleneck in research, especially in lower-income countries. 'Smart' computer controlled motorized microscopes, which can perform automated routines or acquire images in a range of modalities are even more expensive and inaccessible. Developing low-cost, open-source, smart microscopes enables more researchers to conceive and execute optimized or more complex experiments. Here we present the OpenFlexure Delta Stage, a 3D-printed microscope designed for researchers. Powered by the OpenFlexure software stack, it is capable of performing automated experiments. The design files and assembly instructions are freely available under an open licence. Its intuitive and modular design-along with detailed documentation-allows researchers to implement a variety of imaging modes with ease. The versatility of this microscope is demonstrated by imaging biological and non-biological samples (red blood cells with Plasmodium parasites and colloidal particles in brightfield, epi-fluorescence, darkfield, Rheinberg and differential phase contrast. We present the design strategy and choice of tools to develop devices accessible to researchers from lower-income countries, as well as the advantages of an open-source project in this context. This microscope, having been open-source since its conception, has already been built and tested by researchers around the world, promoting a community of expertise and an environment of reproducibility in science.



Microscopy, Reproducibility of Results, Software

Journal Title

Opt Express

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Optica Publishing Group
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R011443/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R013969/1)