openFrame Microscope

• Sustainable open-source microscope
• Compact and stable
• Extensible and modular

Product Description

Modular, extensible, easily-maintained, open-source microscope platform

  • Comprehensive turn-key bespoke microscopes, built to order on an open-source platform
  • Rapid development environment for exploitation of new techniques and technologies
  • Compact and affordable base for specialised and routine experimental needs
  • Scalable for high content acquisition, diagnostics or teaching
  • Stacked, modular design provides inherent stability and facilitates easy access to primary optical path

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The openFrame is a compact, modular, open-source microscope conceived by Paul French and developed with colleagues from the Photonics Group at Imperial College London, and designed, supported, and extended in collaboration with Cairn Research. The fundamental building blocks for self-builders are open source and can be purchased directly from Cairn, or machined in your own workshop based on the STEP files provided on the Photonics Group web page. Alternatively Cairn Research can design, build, and test a bespoke microscope for your specific application consisting of any pre-assembled and aligned openFrame layers, complete with a choice of light sources, images splitters, stages, cameras, software etc from Cairn or other manufacturers. We are committed to sustainability and will also seek to integrate any components that you may already have in the lab on redundant microscopes to save your hard-earned grant money and to avoid waste.

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Additional information


• Wide-field fluorescence
• Phase contrast
• Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (FLIM)
• Simultaneous/ratiometric calcium and voltage imaging
• High content imaging
• Single molecule and super resolution STORM/PALM/SIM
• Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF)
• Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP) and optogenetics
• Electrophysiology
• Bioluminescence
• Single Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM)
• Containment labs (compact and easy to sterilise)
• Polarisation studies (anisotropy)


• Compact and stable
• Can be reconfigured rapidly and easily for different applications
• Supplied with infinity-corrected tube lens and objectives from multiple sources, including Olympus and Nikon
• Simultaneous imaging with multiple cameras and large format sensors (>25mm diagonal)
• Extensible, only buy (or build) what you need, as you need it
• Sustainable, can be supported and maintained by any competent microscopist or technician
• Direct interface with parts from other manufacturers (e.g. Thorlabs) for rapid development of new techniques
• Brand agnostic, works with existing illuminators, cameras, stages, objectives, filters, and lenses from any manufacturer
• Unrivalled access to optical train, laser pointer test kit available for alignment and validation
• Easy to clean or autoclave
• Transportable – suitable for tradeshows, teaching courses and secondments
• No eye pieces – COVID-19 / multi-user friendly