3D Printing

Nanotronics' 3D Printed nSPEC 3D: You've Never Seen a Microscope Like This

As the American Chemical Society kicks off its 2014 International Elastomer Conference today in Nashville, Tennessee, Nanotronics Imaging has brought to the world of research its latest computer-controlled microscope, the nSPEC® 3D.  And this microscope is unlike any that I, and probably you, have ever seen.  Though it makes use of advanced technology for very practical research purposes, the nSPEC® 3D also brings a unique aesthetic approach to the design and creation of laboratory equipment.

Nanotronics is in the business of making high tech microscopes with high-resolution cameras, a wide range of lighting capabilities, and automated hardware for rapid scanning.  Their devices have been designed for analyzing series of samples quickly in order to save researchers time, whether it be processing tissues in medical research or analyzing water samples for possible contaminants.  Their newest microscope takes their imaging technology to the next dimension, giving users the ability to capture nanoscale 3D images.

From a technical perspective, the nSPEC® 3D is interesting, in that it uses high quality optical lenses in conjunction with pattern recognition algorithms and artificial intelligence to create nanoscale 3D images.  Using their computer software, the microscope can produce quantitative results and classify structures with, according to the company, “a single mouse click or gesture.” Recognizing the importance of imminently ubiquitous technologies, like gesture-enabled interfaces, Nanotronics has its sights on the future, which may be why they’ve designed the nSPEC® 3D to look so unique, with its custom, 3D printed hardware.  The hood on the nSPEC® 3D was designed by renowned 3D printing designer Francis Bitonti, along with artist Mari Kussman, yielding a microscope with custom parts only made possible with 3D printing.

nanotronics nspec3D 3D printed hood 3d microscope

The nSPEC® 3D was originally designed for imaging a high number of complex materials in a factory setting, previously unable to repeatably create and automatically interpret 3D topography maps.  Nanotronics CEO, Matthew Putman, explains that their latest device will change the way that 3D images are captured in a wide variety of fields, saying, “Our solution will allow a host of industries, including industrial materials, semiconductors, and even biopharmaceuticals, to access sophisticated imaging that can improve their ability to produce and manipulate advanced materials quickly and efficiently.”

One company, Flow Polymers, has already begun using the nSPEC® 3D in their business as a manufacturer of proprietary and custom chemical dispersions, process aids, and homogenizing agents.  Flow Polymers’ materials have been used for the manufacturing of tires, auto parts, industrial products, wires, cables, and plastics and the company’s CEO, Michael Ivany, believes that the nSPEC® 3D has only improved their work, “For three decades, Flow Polymers has produced additives and rubber chemical dispersions to improve mix quality and compound properties,” said Michael Ivany, CEO of Flow Polymers. “We are excited by Nanotronics Imaging’s development of the nSPEC® 3D, as this instrument has the potential to help the industry optimize product performance, service life and uniformity. Until now we have not been able to identify an instrument that could adequately quantify the quality of mix.”

Nanotronics Imaging currently holds, what sounds like, an exciting booth at the conference, where they’ll be using the Oculus Rift and Leap Motion to give attendees a fully-enclosed 3D view of 3D nanoscale landscapes captured by the nSPEC® 3D that can manipulated through the Leap Motion’s gesture control.   If you’re lucky enough to be at the event, stop by Booth #503 over the next two days and see how Nanotronics is revolutionizing microscopy and imaging.