Ten Things to Consider When Purchasing a Thermal Microscopy System

In this latest issue of Nanographia we take a look at the top ten things to consider when purchasing a thermal microscope. Enjoy!

  1. Think of your “OBJECTIVE”! Objectives are critical when coupling with thermal stages. Will it have enough working distance? Will it offer the resolution you need?
  2. Will your thermal stage offer you the accuracy you need? Many thermal stages offer temperature stability at <0.1°C. Depending on your application, accuracy may be a critical need.
  3. Do you have the right condenser on the microscope? Working distance is not just an objective requirement, but a condenser one as well. To achieve Köhler illumination you must have enough working distance on the condenser, and as such you may need to add an extension lens.
  4. Do you need to capture images/video of thermal events? A camera may be a critical need, and not just any camera. Does it have the proper frame rate? Color? IR sensitive?
  5. Software is crucial! Will your software capture thermal events AND stamp thermal data on to individual images? Documentation is key.
  6. Do you need to control the internal environment of your thermal stage? Make sure it has gas ports so you can purge the system. Electrical connections are also useful to take readings directly from your sample as it goes through a phase change. How about the ability to control pressure, or humidity?
  7. Can your microscope be fitted with clamps to secure the thermal stage? Or, can you attach the thermal stage directly to an x-y transition stage?
  8. Do you need to use the thermal microscope for other applications such as Raman, IR, or X-Ray? A variety of application-specific windows may serve your needs, such as ones made of quartz, barium fluoride, sapphire, etc.
  9. Consider a wide temperature range to satisfy multiple needs. Some thermal stages offer ranges of -196°C to 600°C, and others can go as high as 1500°C.
  10. Training and support are critical! Make sure that you are provided with onsite set-up and training to get your system up and running. These systems are never “out-of-the-box” and a knowledgeable technical representative will ensure your complete satisfaction.


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