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Victoria Nguyen, John Rizzo, Babak Sanii . 2016. An Assemblable, Multi-Angle Fluorescence and Ellipsometric Microscope. PLOS ONE : . Full Article

We introduce a multi-functional microscope for research laboratories that have significant cost and space limitations. The microscope pivots around the sample, operating in upright, inverted, side-on and oblique geometries. At these geometries it is able to perform bright-field, fluorescence and qualitative ellipsometric imaging. It is the first single instrument in the literature to be able to perform all of these functionalities. The system can be assembled by two undergraduate students from a provided manual in less than a day, from off-the-shelf and 3D printed components, which together cost approximately $16k at 2016 market prices. We include a highly specified assembly manual, a summary of design methodologies, and all associated 3D-printing files in hopes that the utility of the design outlives the current component market. This open design approach prepares readers to customize the instrument to specific needs and applications. We also discuss how to select household LEDs as low-cost light sources for fluorescence microscopy. We demonstrate the utility of the microscope in varied geometries and functionalities, with particular emphasis on studying hydrated, solid-supported lipid films and wet biological samples.

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