Frequently Asked Questions
Can Imaging Plates be used also at higher Accelerating Voltages?
Imaging Plates can be used in the range from 50 to 400kV. With accelerating Voltages above 300kV the efficiency goes down to some degree but is still useful. As the plastic support of the Imaging Plate is much thicker than film there is no problem with backscattered electrons or X-rays.
You state a usable time of 1000 times. Do the plates degenerate at the end of the lifetime?
The degeneration of the plate is mainly mechanical. This means degeneration of the plate surface (scratches) that are visible in the image and mechanical wear out (bending of edges). The lifetime of the plate is mainly influenced by the care when handling it. The response of the plate (sensitivity, dynamic) is hardly degenerating. Finally, with routine use the Imaging Plate could not be destroyed by electron dose.
The plate is erased by reading. Is it possible to read it a second time?
Scanning reads out information of the plate but not completely. When the plate is read a second time about half of the signal intensity is read but the image looks the same. Multiple scans are useful to expand the dynamic range or to adapt the reader settings.
How long may the plates be stored between exposure and readout?
Usually it is best to read the plates within two days. Especially Low dose exposures shall be read within this period. High dose applications and diffraction patterns can be stored for up to one week without adverse affects.
Do the plates need to be desiccated before loading to the TEM?
Imaging Plates are not hygroscopic and do not need to be desiccated. If desiccated however pumping time goes a little bit down.
How big are the image data files?
This depends on the mode of reading and the pixel size. For 25µm standard images are about 20MB per image. High Dynamic Images are 30 or 40MB per image, depending on the mode of storage. For other resolutions (15/17.5/35/50µm) files sizes for standard images are 60/40/12/6MB
Is the software also available for MAC computers or LINUX?
No, a MAC or LINUX version are not available.
Is it possible to runs copies of the software on other computers?
The software is licence protected with a hardware key. Additional licences may be bought to run on other installations. If the software is run without the licence key it is running in a demonstration mode. In this mode the software may be used for viewing and printing. All functions are available except data export.
Is the micron mark and exposure number of the microscope recorded on the plate?
As the Imaging Plate is only sensitive to high energy radiation unfortunately this information is not recorded. But there is a way to connect this information to the image file, it is then stored in the images header. If the magnification is known it is possible to place a micron mark as an image overlay within the micron software.
Is there a way to identify plates to ensure the correct order?
There are several options: Plates may be marked on the back side with a felt pen. If you are unloading the plates from the reader you then are able to make sure not to have confused the plates. You also may number the plates with a black permanent pen on top of the plate. If this is within the exposed area you will see it as black writing in the image. The third alternative is to put a printed label onto the top of the plate (typically outside the exposed area). There is a special mode where this optical information is also read out and superimposed to the image.
Are there parts in the device that need service or are wearing out?
There are no parts that require regular service or have a limited lifetime in the instrument. Service is required in case of instrument breakdown and there is an annual service contract available (may be different depending on country and distributor, please ask us)
How many plates can be loaded to my TEM?
This depends on the microscope. Generally as many plates fit into the magazine as film sheets.
What is your software upgrade policy?
Generally software upgrades are free and can be downloaded from our web site.
What are the differences between the DITABIS micron and the Fuji FDL 5000?
Both instruments use the same technology and have more or less similar performance at 25µm. The DITABIS instrument has a variable resolution, is considerably cheaper and a much smaller instrument. The main difference besides this is the layout of the detector. The DITABIS is working linear with a dynamic resolution of 20bit. The FDL 5000 has a logarithmic response with only14 bit ADC. The DITABIS micron is directly controlled by the computer while the FDL is an off-line device.
Is it possible to clean the plate surface?
In case it is necessary you may clean the plate with a soft tissue. If this is not enough even some alcohol may be used. Be careful not to scratch the surface, even microscopic scratches may be visible in the image.
What reader resolution type do you recommend for what application?
The micron vario is preferable if you have different applications and want the flexibility to optimize your readout. For the lower budget the 25.0µm standard device is recommended.
For the readout of diffraction patterns generally only a lower pixel size is required. Images to view and printout are best scanned in a medium range (17.5 to 25µm). For high resolution applications and 3D reconstruction the highest resolution is required.
The only difference is the pixel size, but this has some impact on data output and read-out time. (See specifications table above)