Digital image capture comes to microscopy
Traditionally, to produce images from transmission electron microscopes (TEMs), electron beams are used to expose photographic film that is then developed and analyzed. Now, by replacing the photographic film with a system composed of a phosphorescent screen coupled to a 2 k ¥ 2 k digital camera, frame grabber, and PC, scientists can analyze these images immediately.
Dubbed the Advantage Series from Advanced Microscopy Techniques (Danvers, MA), the system uses a MegaPlus camera from Eastman Kodak (San Diego, CA) interfaced to VME, PC, or Macintosh frame-grabber boards. These include the VME-based MaxVideo 20 from Datacube (Danvers, MA), PC-based boards from Data Translation (Marlboro, MA) and Imaging Technology (Bedford, MA), and Macintosh-based boards from Perceptics (Knoxville, TN). Software is bundled with the system to control both the camera and exposure times. According to James Mancuso, president of AMT, "Kodak`s MegaPlus camera was chosen because of its 10-bit/pixel resolution. This is critical in TEM applications where fine detail is required."
The University of Michigan School of Medicine (Ann Arbor, MI) is already using an AMT system in a drug study to piece together montages of 600 to 1000 electron micrograph fields, resulting in virtual images measuring 30 feet in length.