Sponsored Article: Rethink custom microscopes with OpenStand®

Prior Scientific has developed a versatile imaging system development platform to speed up the design of custom instruments


Prior Scientific is renowned for motorizing commercially available microscopes. As imaging instruments become more specialized towards particular applications, Prior now offers the OpenStand®, a highly versatile imaging system development platform.

The OpenStand® compliments Prior’s expertise in designing customized analytical instrumentation and benefits from its extensive range of existing microscopy automation products. Prior's vast product portfolio integrates with the OpenStand® ‘off the shelf’ using the same software development kit. This kick-starts development of automated instruments by eliminating the need to integrate multiple components from different suppliers.

Semimetrics Ltd, the UK-based semiconductor analysis company, in partnership with Durham University, used all the facets of the OpenStand® to develop their system.

Automation is essential for scanning applications to enable repeatable and rapid acquisition of images and data. Semimetrics configured their OpenStand® with a triggerable episcopic light source, motorized three-axis movement and a motorized objective nosepiece. As all of these components were sourced from Prior, they could all be controlled via the same electronics package, saving time during software development. The OpenStand® met all the requirements for their wafer-scanning microscope, allowing automation of their analysis methods from the start.


Prior also developed a pair of modulated infrared laser devices for Semimetrics’ unique analysis method. These devices allow Dr. Iddo Amit, Assistant Professor in Durham University’s Department of Engineering, to investigate intraband transitions in semiconductors. By inducing optical excitation of charge carriers over in-band energy barriers using near and mid-infrared wavelengths and measuring the resulting photocurrent increase to evaluate concealed sample properties.

Prior’s R&D team designed the optics and fitted them into the housing of Purefocus 850. The chosen wavelengths are also critical for differentiating between intraband and band-to-band transitions, necessitating a customized solution. Prior also sourced a suitable camera and casework for imaging at the long wavelengths specified by Semimetrics to complete the system. The result is a complete, automated system used to map electronic structures to physical sample morphology using a non-contact, minimally invasive method.

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