Flat Top Microscope | IIBM UC | Chile

[UPDATE 03] Hi everyone! :raising_hand_man:t4: I know it has been a while since the last update. I hope this post you may find it useful.

In the last four months, we have made good progress in developing variants of the flat-top microscope for performing microfluidic experiments. Matias and Tobias joined me in this project and contributed to the design and verification process.

As I pointed out in previous posts, our interest is in using stroboscopy for visualizing droplet generation on a PDMS chip. For this purpose, we designed a mechanism to hold the high-power LED with its heatsink and position it at different distances. Here is a reference of the structure without electronic components:

Other requirements I didn’t mention before were increasing the Field of View (FOV) for microfluidics applications and rotating the sensor to improve usability. We tested different lenses and kept the same lens from the RPi cam. Here is a reference of the optics configuration:

Tobias and I tested this new version. Tobias used this workstation as part of an EMBO Practical Course called “Microbial Metagenomics: a 360° approach”. This workshop was offered in Germany, so our workstation had to fly from Chile to Germany and perform as intended. You can visit the following links to watch a video and pictures from this course and the workstation: Picture 1, Picture 2, and Video. Then, Tobias and I used it again for a practical session of a teaching course called Prototyping for Bioengineers (IBM2026) offered at the uni where we work. Here is a video of the workstation while I tested different flow rates for droplet generation, and a picture of the latest design:


Finally, we also finished the version with the XY translation mechanism. Currently, this version is used by our team in microfluidics experiments. Here are some pictures and a video of this version in our lab:


Our following goals are:

  • To finish and release the documentation of this workstation.

  • To do a workshop to teach how to build this platform for microfluidic research.

A final message related to the second bullet point: If you are in Latin America and your research area is microfluidics, or you are using this technology as part of your experiments, I invite you to apply to our next LIBRE hub workshop. Travel grants are available for participants.

Thank you for reading this post!