Open Microscopes

Galileo Microscope Our "Open" microscopes are open for 2 reasons:
  1. The designs, drawings, explanations and software code are published and available to all for non-profit use.
  2. The mechanical structural core of the microscopes is built in-house - their operational components are accessible, visible and changeable.
The advantages of in-house development are clear in flexibility to perform new and varied experiments, as well as the fact that the microscope is no longer a black box.
Here you will find links to pdf documents are resources that should enable you to build an automated open microscope.
Abbe Microscope in use

Further Reading

An inverted fluorescence microscope assembly

An inverted fluorescence microscope assembly

This document describes the Open Microscope 'body' which is the base for all further developments.


Open Microscope CAD

This is the full 3D CAD for an open microscope as an eDrawing. You can download the eDrawings viewer from here:

Microscope Paper

Open Microscope Paper
and Supporting Information

Our publication in the Journal of Microscopy outlines the Open Microscope system design methodology and describes the most advanced of those microscopes, including specifications and example applications. You can download it and supporting information here. Details of the hardware and software of the microscopes can be found in the technical notes on this website.

Microscope Software

Microscopy Software Architecture

This document outlines some of the details of the software architecture of the high level code of the Gray Institute Open Microscopes. It starts with the prerequisite dependencies and how to compile the projects and moves on to describe the structure of the software and how modular components can be integrated to form a working system. Settings, configuration and initialisation files are also described followed by details of top level operations, such as the region scanning and time lapse functions. The source code for a stand alone 'dummy' microscope is hosted on Assembla in a private repository (Source Code SVN Repository). Please contact us if you wish to try it out.

USB1 communications interface for controlling instruments

USB1 Communications Interface For Controlling Instruments

This detailed document has designs, diagrams and code to build a USB to I2C communications module that can be used to control many items in an automated system.

A motorised fluorescence cube linear positioner

A motorised fluorescence cube linear positioner

Fluorescence microscopes use filter cubes. Details of a simple motorised filter cube changer can be found here.

Optical power meters for fluorescence microscopy

Optical Power Meters for Fluorescence Microscopy

Linear and logarithmic optical power meters are described in this document that have up to 6 decades of dynamic range. These are ideal for monitoring both the power delivered by a fluorescence excitation lamp and a scanning laser on the same instrument. Details of the design, circuit diagrams, pcb layouts and code snippets are all presented.

A four position motorised optical path selector

A four position motorised optical path selector

Microscopes and other optical systems often require beams to be selected or optical paths to be switched. Here you can find details of a 4-way orthogonal beam switch.

Optical Power Meter

DC Motor-Encoder Position Servo Controller

This DC motor-encoder position servo controller is used to implement a coarse Z drive in our microscopes, for coarse positioning over several mm and accurate (sub um) repositioning.

Uniblitz optical shutter driver

Uniblitz Optical Shutter Driver

A fast shutter driver for the Uniblitz VS25 range of shutters.

Fianium laser optical head mounting

Fianium laser optical head mounting

We describe a the mounting of the Fianium laser optical head into the optical cage system.

Optical laser beam scanner lens relay system

Optical laser beam scanner lens relay system

The optical arrangment of the galvonometer scanners is described.

Optical Scanner Galvanometer Controller

Optical Scanner Galvanometer Controller

We describe the hardware system used to control and to drive galvanometer mirror XY scanners for use in laser scanning microscopes.

Optical Galvo Mount

A Simple Mount for an Optical Scanner Galvanometer

Here we describe how to mount a GSI-Lumonics VM1000 galvanometer scanner onto a Thorlabs C6W cage system cube. Details of the mechanical design including diagrams are presented.

TE300 LED pdf

TE300 LED system

We describe a white light-emitting diode transillumination light source which can be used to replace the tungsten lamp on Nikon TE300 style microscopes.

TE300 incubator pdf

TE300 incubator enclosure

This note describes an approach for constructing a microscope enclosure from readily available components with the aim of maintaining the cell environment at the usual 37 degC and 5% CO2.