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Delta T Open Dish System

Delta T5 System Controller

Delta T SBS Stage Adapter (shown with Heated Lid)
Stage adapters available for all brands of microscopes. 

Finally a culture dish system specifically designed for live-cell microscopy! Now you can have accurate temperature control and high-numeric aperture compatibility in a convenient disposable culture dish system that even works in confocal applications.


The Bioptechs, Inc. Delta T Culture Dish System is designed to simulate host conditions on the stage of your microscope and provide an optimal optical environment for microscopy. This two-step system allows you to plate your cells and observe them without having to transfer them to another structure. The system components are, the Controller, a Stage Adapter, and Dishes. Accessories for Tissue Slice, Brain Slice, and other specimens are available.

An intelligent feedback loop passes an electrical current through a thin film coating on the underside surface of the glass substrate on which the cells are grown. Heat is applied directly to the cells without the inefficiencies associated with peripheral heating by traditional culture dish warmers. Bioptechs exclusively offers opaque culture dishes which eliminates the unwanted ambient light background for fluorescence imaging.

The controller features a real-time temperature display and fast learning curve to compensate for cooling due to surface evaporation while responding to temperature changes due to perfusion. There is also an alarmed protection circuit to safeguard the cells and an internal reference for the user adjustable calibration. The standard controller has a temperature range of ambient to 50 C. Extended ranges are available upon request.

Delta T dishes have 35mm O.D. and a 23mm central aperture. The peripheral region of the dish is tapered to reduce the dead-volume and the height of the dish is 6mm to allow better access for micro-injection and micromanipulation. The dishes are a hybrid of polystyrene plastic and Desag 263 glass. The outer structure of the dish is available in opaque black or clear and come with a clear 0.5mm or no.1.5 glass coverslip bottom bonded to it. The dishes are also available in a plain glass unheated version.

Delta T Demonstration Video
Click to view, QuickTime 7 required, 26mb

Delta T Dish (Black)

Features of the Delta T Controller


Bioptechs Delta T vs. Traditional Stage Heating

Bioptechs Delta T

Every Other Traditional "Stage Heater"

  • Easier technique
  • Accurate temperature control
  • Low dead volume
  • Fast recovery
  • Superior optical image
  • Heating stages systems are not efficient
  • Plastic dishes are a poor conductor of heat
  • Temperature does not recover quickly during or after perfusion
  • Plastic bottomed dishes are not suitable for high resolution microscopy
  • Non-uniform temperature distribution
  • Unnecessary dead volume

Thermographic Images

The thermograph on the left shows the efficiency, accuracy and uniformity of the Delta T system. Notice the temperature of the stage adapter. It is nearly the same temperature as the room temperature background. The dotted oval shows where the edge of the stage adapter is in visible light. Only the specimen and media are heated. Power consumption is 0.9 watts because heat is only applied to the specimen area. There is no heat transmitted to the stage. Therefore, it remains Z axis stabile. This is a sharp contrast to traditional peripheral heating methods (shown below right), and clearly superior.

Thermographic image of a Bioptechs Delta T System

Thermographic image of a Radiant Stage Heater

The thermograph above on the right indicates the dis-advantage of peripheral heating. This is a thermal image of a 50mm culture dish in the center of a 100mm diameter uniformly heated, 3mm thick, aluminum plate with a 25 mm hole in the center. This image was acquired after 20 minutes of equilibration. Note the high temperatures of nearly 60 C, that it takes to reach 37 C in the specimen area. In this case heat that is not beneficial to the specimen is sunk into the stage causing Z-axis instability, not to mention the non-uniform temperature of the specimen area.

Perfusion in the Delta T

The illustrations below give you an overview on how to setup perfusion in the Delta T system, one drawing is for strictly CO2 perfusion above your cells. The second drawing depicts how to set up your Delta T System for perfusion with CO2 regulated media while perfusing your cells with a variety of perfusion devices. You can click on each image for a larger view.

Bioptechs Delta T System CO2 Perfusion Diagram

Bioptechs Delta T System Media Perfusion Diagram

Bioptechs now offers a Delta T starter set:

Ideal for first time users and multi-user facilities. Bioptechs has combined the Delta T with the three most commonly used accessories to get you up and running as fast and trouble free as possible at a reduced price.

The Bioptechs starter set will immediately give you the micro-environment base for your cells to start high end time lapse microscopy with the ease of disposable culture dishes, and the versatility to image a wide variety of cell and tissue cultures directly out of the box.

The starter set includes:

(1) Delta T Controller
(1) 10pk of Delta T Dishes 0.17mm thick (clear unless specified)
(1) Coverglass Lid
(1) Heated Lid with CO2 port
(1) Culture Cylinder Pack,  (1) 4mm, (1) 6mm, (1) 8mm, (1) 10mm
(1) Standard Stage Adapter, please specify when ordering

Bioptechs Delta T5 Starter Set (PN: 0420-4)

Optional Accessories for the Delta T System:

Item: Purpose:
ACBR (Atmospheric Barrier Ring) Used to reduce ambient contamination and evaporation with water dipping lenses.
Artificial Membrane Adapter Used to accommodate many of the artificial membrane culturing products on the market in a Delta T dish.
Brain Slice Adapter Used to allow observation of a slice of membrane in a Delta T dish.
Cooling Ring An immersion device which absorbs heat from the specimen.
Coverglass Lid Eliminates the optical effect of fluid motion at the air to liquid surface above the cells that causes the contrast of the image to change.
Coverglass Lid (Perfusable) Same as the Coverglass Lid, but with the ability to exchange media.
Coverslip Weight Observe cells grown on ordinary coverslips with an upright microscope while using a Delta T System
Culture Cylinders Used to localize cells in a specific region for imaging without grease!
Heated Lid A device which will provide a condensate free optical surface on the top of a Delta T Dish.
Heated Lid (Perfusable) Same as the Heated Lid, but with the ability to exchange media.
Hinged Perfusion Adapter Set Provides users with a convenient and inexpensive method of supporting perfusion needles in the culture dish.
Media Depth Reducer Allows for the reduction of media volume above cells adherent to the coverslip bottom of a Delta T Dish
Tissue Slice Adapter Designed to allow observation of a tissue slice in the Delta T system.

Low numeric aperture users need only purchase the basic Delta T with .5mm dishes. However if you are using high numeric aperture objectives (immersion) you will need the 0.17mm dishes. It will be necessary to regulate the temperature of the objective as well. In this case a Bioptechs, Inc. Objective Heater and an Objective Heater Controller will be necessary for uniform temperature across the field. Once you become familiar with its operation, you will find the Delta T an indispensable addition to your scope. 

To assist you and Bioptechs in selecting the most appropriate system to meet
your needs, please review and fill out the following questionnaire.
     Micro-Environmental System Profile Questions (.pdf)
      Micro-Environmental System Profile Questions (.doc)

Phone: (724) 282-7145, Toll-Free 877 LIVE-CELL (548-3235), Fax: (724) 282-0745