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An Up Close Look at the CISMM Microscope

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Center for Computer Integrated Systems for Microscopy and Manipulation (CISMM) at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill consists of a collaboration among the Physics and Astronomy, Computer Science, and other Departments at UNC Chapel Hill led by Prof. Richard Superfine.

This group has been developing a novel 3D force microscope and more recently has been pursuing a 12-channel high throughput microscope design. This fully automated system comprises optics, electromechanical, control, and computer systems, all coordinated to operate synchronously to a precision of microseconds. The optical and electromechanical assembly itself was a challenging design! Naturally beyond the 13 Linux computers for handling the imaging, control and sync electronics had to be designed and built to control the LED illuminators, focus of the objective lenses, synchronize the video cameras, etc. Among the many boards we’ve designed for this project (using Sunstone’s PCB123 CAD software) are a system mid-plane board, like a backplane which accepts daughter boards from both sides, a Master I/O board, an LED I/O board, Channel I/O boards as well as a number of very small but dimensionally critical boards such as the LED mounts. These are all packaged in a wooden (!) chassis which integrates the synchronously-critical control subsystem running under a custom real time operating system we named LewOS.

- Shared October 10, 2012