Digital Fission Track Laboratory
The Melbourne Digital Fission track Laboratory is based on three Zeiss Axio-Imager Microscope Workstations – one Z1m and two M1m systems, all fitted with Physik Instrumente piezo-motor scanning stages and IDS µEye 4MP square-format, fast CMOS digital cameras.
Each microscope is interfaced to a high-performance control computer with an ultra-widescreen (21:9) high-resolution display and a joystick controller for manual stage movement. The Z1m microscope is also fitted with an LSM700 ‘Materials Science’ confocal laser scanning microscopy unit, for super-resolution imaging of certain features, especially surface morphologies such as etch pits, horizontal confined tracks and laser ablation pits.
The stages are fitted with AutoScan Systems magnetic mounting plates that are designed to carry two 25x75 mm, four 27x46 mm or six 25x30 mm microscope slides. The 25x30mm small slide format is our standard mount size for fission track analysis. Slides are mounted externally on the carrier plates which then snap precisely into place on the stage by magnetic attachment.
All functions of the microscope systems are under computer control and overseen by the Autoscan Fission Track Studio software suite, developed within our group over the last 15 years. TrackWorks enables automatic location of coordination markers attached to the slides, automatic grain detection of suitably oriented apatite grains, and then autonomous capture of digital image sets over all grains selected for analysis.
Once a batch is set up interactively, digital image capture can be performed on selected grains in up to six slide mounts at a time without operator supervision. Digital image sets are then archived to disc and cloud storage for later retrieval using FastTracks software for automatic and interactive fission track analysis by the user on any computer.
You can learn more about TrackWorks and FastTracks here.