Filter and Filter Wheel Miscellany

We’ve been working on setting up a microscope for five color imaging recently, and as a result I’ve learned a few tips about filters and filter wheels I wanted to pass on.

First, we’re using the Sutter-threaded Semrock filters. These are standard Semrock filters, threaded to mount directly in a Sutter filter wheel (without the filter cups).  They reduce the mass of the filter wheel and allow you to operate it faster. However, the size of the filters and the installation notches (for the spanner wrench) is slightly different than the Sutter cups, meaning that they can’t be installed with the standard Sutter wrenches. Fortunately Sutter makes a special tool for installing the filters; it’s part number X100555, and if you’re going to use these filters, you should definitely get one from Sutter.

Second, I’ve learned that Finger Lakes Imaging makes high speed filter wheels. They have a six position wheel with 23 ms switching times between adjacent positions (this compares to 40 ms for the standard Sutter filter wheel). More interestingly, apparently there is a version of this six position wheel that can be driven by digital inputs, allowing hardware-triggered acquisition. I haven’t seen this wheel yet, but it seems intriguing.