Using the UltraVIEW VoX - no laser light getting to the sample?

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine acquired a brand new UltraVIEW® VoX Spinning Disk system for his lab. On the odd occasion, when he first started to use the system, he found that he was unable to see any laser light getting through to the sample.  He discovered that the problem was being caused by a simple configuration issue.

To help him and other users of the system I have put together a short check list of things to look for when using the UltraVIEW VoX which I have found to be very useful.

Hardware Checks:

Make sure that power is getting to the ProSync® Unit by checking that the mains switch on the rear of the device is set to ‘ON’. If the main switch is off you will notice that all LEDs on the front of the ProSync Unit (apart from the USB LED) will not be illuminated. If the ProSync Unit is physically connected to the computer via the USB port, the USB LED will illuminate irrespective of whether the ProSync Unit itself is actually switched on. This can sometimes be a little deceiving.

UltraVIEW VoX ProSync Unit

Have a quick look to see if the Laser ‘ON’ light is illuminated on the ProSync unit...if not

UltraVIEW VoX ProSync Unit Laser On

ensure that the laser key is turned to the ‘ON’ position

ProSync Unit Laser On

Many of you will have noticed that there is a Laser Safety Interlock connector on the rear of the ProSync unit, this must connect to the safety switch (as shown in the image below).

UltraVIEW VoX ProSync Unit

In this instance the ‘Interlock Safety Switch’ is connected at one end to the Safety Interlock Connector and the other end to the safety switch, which itself should be connected to the door leading into the Microscope room.

The key, or rather the position of the key on the CSU head, can be easily overlooked. On my VoX system I have to remove the flap of plastic attached to the casing that houses the internal workings of the system to reveal part of the CSU head and the “on-off” key. Switch the key to the ‘ON’ position.

CSU X1 Head UltraVIEW VoX Live Cell Imaging

Remove the plastic covering to reveal the CSU X1 head. The key should be in the “on” position as indicated in this image.


CSU Head UltraView VoX Live Cellimaging System

This is an image of the CSU head with the casing removed just to show you how the connections to the CSU head appear.

The CSU X1 head has its own power supply/controller, as shown below:

CSU X1 power supply

Switch the button on the rear of the controller to the ‘ON’ position.

Power On

Something that I have missed on several occasions is that the reflector turret must be in the correct position to allow the laser light through to the sample, this is specific to your system. Normally this would be an empty position. Depending on the specifications of the system a fluorescence filter could ultimately block one or more of the laser lines.

As the PhotoKinesis Accessory (if you have one), spinning disk unit and camera are housed on the side port of the microscope, be sure to direct 100% of the light to the side port and not to the eyepiece of the scope.

Microscope sideport for UltraView VoX

Software Checks:

I moved from a PerkinElmer 5 line ERS system to the latest 6 line VoX.  Accidentally (by force of habit) I changed the laser engine in the Volocity software to the ERS 5 line setup instead of the VoX 6 line, it is therefore important to make sure that the correct laser engine configuration has been selected.

There are two ways to go about this, the first, as shown in the image below, is to manually choose the laser engine from the Hardware controls in the Live Video Preview. Double click on the laser symbol to reveal the UltraVIEW Options Dialog. Choose the correct option from here.

Volocity Laser Engine

The second method is to amend the options in the Device preferences, select the Edit menu...Preferences...Devices, scroll down to “UltraVIEW” and click on the adjacent “Options” button, set the correct laser engine from here.

Volocity Preferences

Of course, be sure to have the intensity of the laser line you are using ramped up to 100% when testing, just be certain that laser light is getting to the sample.

Now, there is another thing you could do, not that I have done this myself but a colleague suggested this and I thought it was quite a nice idea, if you have a spare light path. You may wish to consider configuring a ‘setup’ light path to move the reflector turret and also change the position of the prism within the scope to alter the direction of the light to the side port...this may save some time in the future.

If none of these checks enable you to see laser light at the sample please then contact our friends at the Improvision Support desk directly. They will then advise the best course of action to help resolve the problem.

If you have come across any similar checks which you find useful that are not listed in this note please contact the Support desk, so that they can update the note where appropriate.

See you next time – happy VoXing!