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The Biomedical Imaging Unit at the University of Southampton Uses Quorum Coating System as a General Purpose Work Station
Quorum Technologies, market and technology leaders in electron microscopy coating and cryogenic preparation products, report on the use of their Q150T ES combined sputter coating and carbon coating system selected as a general purpose workhorse facility for the Biomedical Imaging Unit at Southampton University.
The Biomedical Imaging Unit (BIU) is a core facility which provides a diagnostic and research service in high quality/high resolution microscopy. It is a joint facility run for the benefit of, and jointly funded by, the University of Southampton and Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust with eight full time staff. The microscopes in the Biomedical Imaging Unit are used extensively for research, teaching and diagnostic work by staff and students across the Trust and University with some 100-150 users per year from most science faculties including Medicine, Physics, National Oceanographic Centre, Engineering and Biological Sciences. This nationally important unit is extremely well equipped with two new microscopes to enable it to do 3D microscopy in addition to the existing transmission and scanning electron microscopes, confocal and time lapse light microscopes, image analysis and video microscopes.
The Quorum Q150T ES coater was purchased to replace a very old (1960s vintage) Edwards coating unit. It is being used as a general purpose workstation for carbon coating, sputter coating for high resolution SEM, glow discharging grids, cleaning apertures etc.
Discussing the purchase, Anton Page, Head of the BIU, says, “We looked at various competitive systems but these did not fit our needs nor matched our price constraints. The new coater is ideal. It is a combined system providing both sputtering and carbon coating. The deposition heads can be swapped in seconds and the intelligent system logic automatically recognises which head is in place and displays the appropriate operating settings.”
“Furthermore, for us, it is very fast! Our old coating unit took half a day (really!) to pump down before we could use it. The Q150T ES is a turbo pump system and can do the same job in 10 — 15 mins and get a better result. Newer coating units are obviously also much quicker than our old one but this is much more versatile — it has interchangeable head inserts — one for carbon coating and one for sputter coating which prevents cross-contamination of specimens, making cleaning easier too. It is simple to use and so we can teach our users how to coat their specimens instead of doing it for them.”
The Quorum Q150T ES is one of a family of coaters designed for applications across the spectrum of electron microscopy. Thousands of Q150 and Q300 coaters are used in EM laboratories around the world - and increasingly for many thin film coating applications.