For best quality imaging, you want to use a 170 μm (0.17 mm) coverslip. This is roughly equivalent to a #1.5 coverslip. There are also plate and dish options which use a plastic polymer instead of a coverslip. When choosing a polymer bottom pay attention to the thickness of the polymer, since anything thicker that a coverslip will reduce the working distance of the objective and can prevent you from using high NA objectives. Also standard PS tissue culture plasticware can be imaged through but you will not have good performance and is really only acceptable if you just need low resolution images. The following are sources of imaging dishes and plates we are aware of.

35 mm Petri Dishes

  • Mat-Tek – Cheap and good
  • Greiner Bio-One CELLView dish – Available as both single and divided into quadrants
  • ibidi – Has ibidi polymer bottom or glass bottom (#1.5H, 170um +/- 5um)
  • Wilco Wells glass bottom dishes.
  • Cellvis (formerly In Vitro Scientific)
  • Eppendorf

Chambered coverglasses/slides

Multi-well plates

There are a large number of multi-well plates designed for imaging available that vary in cost, mostly determined by the material the bottom of the plate is made of.
There are some important details to pay attention to when deciding on a plate to make sure that you will be able to capture the images needed for your experiments. In general you want a flat-bottom plate with black sides to help keep low background fluorescence and light scattering minimized.

  1. Glass bottom vs Polymer bottom- Glass bottom plates will give the best performance and should be used if you plan on using a 40x or higher magnification objective. For standard screening the polymer bottom plates can provide good performance at a lower cost but pay attention to the thickness of the polymer. Some polymers can be more than 300 um thick, which will limit the objectives that can be used due to working distance issues.
  2. Height of plate skirt – Plates with a tall skirt can prevent you from focusing on the edge wells with some objectives. If you need to use a higher NA objective be sure to test your plate to make sure that you can access the edge wells. Several manufactures have plates available with almost no skirt.
  • Greiner Bio-One – Offers 3 levels of plates, SensoPlate (glass), SCREENSTAR plates (COC), and µClear plates (thin PS)
  • Corning – Offers many levels of plates with various coatings.
  • ibidi
  • MatTek
  • Cellvis (formerly In Vitro Scientific)
  • Porvair Sciences make glass bottom plates with 0.17 mm bottoms and +/- 15 um flatness across the whole plate
  • Thermo Scientific Nunc has both polymer bottom and glass bottom
  • The Vale lab recommends these plates from Brooks

Specialty Products

  • Coylab makes an interesting gas permeable plate with a fluoropolymer bottom that is very thin (10 microns) and low refractive index (1.34). It may have interesting applications beyond gas permeability, such as using water dipping objectives for imaging.
  • Sarstedt has Lumox product line (multi-well plates and petri dishes) which has a gas-permeable film base that is 50 um thick.

Many companies can provide a sample of the different dishes and plates. If you are unsure of what you need this can be useful for a way to test performance of the plates on your samples.