LINKAM has released the FDCS196 freeze drying cryostage. It is available from Warsash Scientific .
The system uses FDCS and light microscopy techniques such as phase contrast and polarised light. It can accurately determine collapse temperature and investigate the freeze dried structure of complex samples.
Both stage pressure and temperature can be controlled and programmed to simulate industrial procedures and determine ideal drying parameters. Temperature is measured to an accuracy of 0.01°C by a Pt100 resistor mounted close to the sample and controlled to 0.1°C down to pressures as low as 10-3 mbar. Chamber pressure is monitored by a pirani gauge mounted directly on the stage. A uniform vacuum is maintained even when the XY manipulators are used to follow the drying front moving across the sample.
The FDCS clamps directly to the microscope substage for stability and can be used with all microscope techniques. It is suitable for confocal, laser raman, IR and x-ray systems. The objective lens working distance is 4.5mm and there are a range of condenser extension lenses available.
A graph of temperature against time also shows the plot of the chamber pressure throughout the experiment. Using Real Time Video software it is possible to capture images of the freeze drying run with all the experimental data inlaid in each image. This data can include temperature, time, date, pressure, and magnification. The images can be viewed in a gallery or as an AVI movie with captions containing all the data scrolled underneath the viewing window.
The system has a temperature range down to -196°C for a sample area 22mm in diameter. Low temperature eutectics can be investigated with the FDCS system that are not possible with Peltier controlled systems.