Solent Scientific © | Site map | Disclaimer

Home | Products | Incubator FAQ's | News & Events | Downloads | Contact | Links | Employment

Solent Scientific 

FAQs - Black Chambers

When should I use a black chamber?

The basic need for a black chamber is to reduce stray light which degrades the optical performance of studies where the signal is weak such as in certain fluorescence measurements or indeed multi-photon microscopy.

^ Top

What is the impact of a black chamber on the temperature control?

These dark chambers impact on the accuracy of the temperature control. As with all temperature controlled environments we are working with a system in equilibrium. The heat losses are balanced by the heater output. Because of black body radiation the heat losses of a black chamber are greater than for a transparent enclosure.

Any attempt to set the heater controller to accept both clear and black enclosures results in a lower performance compromise being made, i.e. the precision of the temperature control will degrade. We believe that this compromise will stress most cells under investigation.


Will covering my existing chamber with a black cloth work?

No. Because of black body radiation the heat losses of a black chamber are greater than for a transparent enclosure. As the cloth is removed and later replaced the thermal environment will change sufficiently to stress most cells under observation.

Similar arguments apply for removable black panels.

^ Top

Is the surface finish of the enclosure important?

Some enclosures have been made with stock black acrylic material. This has a shiny surface which reflects any stray light inside the enclosure. We coat a standard acrylic enclosure with a matt black surface coating thereby overcoming the reflections.


What extra items are needed when working with a black acrylic enclosure?

It is necessary to add baffles to the various openings in the enclosure, e.g. the access doors, so that stray light does not enter the enclosure. 

Having made the enclosure black it is difficult to see the stage when changing samples. To overcome this we add a viewing port, which does not disturb the heat equilibrium. Additionally we add internal LED lights to illuminate the enclosure interior without bringing in extra heat.