OptoSpin IV

• High speed filter wheel
• Standard control box can drive up to two wheels
• Optimised for microscopy and other demanding applications
• Control via USB or digital interface

Product Description

OptoSpin is now fully integrated into NIS-Elements (Nikon advanced microscope software)

The Cairn Optospin IV continues our long tradition in filter wheel design, dating back to the 1980s, but taking full advantage of the continuing developments in motor and control technology that have taken place since then. It builds on our tried and tested approach of mounting the motor directly within the hub of the filter wheel, in order to maintain a compact size (no motor bulge!) and to minimise the inertial and other losses associated with geared connections. Our previous design of this type used a relatively small wheel with 12.5mm diameter filters in order to further reduce the inertia – and hence the response time – but by using a newer and much more powerful type of motor, we have been able to obtain similar performance with this 25mm filter design.

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In addition to fast stepwise operation the OptoSpin IV can spin continuously over a wide range of speeds. Continuous spinning allows wavelengths to be changed on a millisecond timescale, as required for high-speed imaging, and also avoids the inevitable vibration problems associated with stepwise operation. The OptoSpin provides all the timing signals necessary to synchronise a camera and solid-state lightsource with the filter changes. To minimize inertia we have standardised on a six-filter wheel, but it is offset within its housing so that two housings can be joined in an interlocking fashion, to allow ten positions within a mechanical path length of 35mm. Another useful mode, which is also supported, is to use the second wheel as a counterbalance, driving it so as to compensate for the reaction torque from the other wheel, and hence reduce vibration.

The controller box can drive up to two filter wheels simultaneously, and can interconnect with other equipment by either a digital or a USB interface. In spin mode, any or all wheels can be spun in both speed and phase synchronisation, either at an internally programmed speed, or locked to an external reference frequency. In step mode, wheels can be simultaneously but independently stepped between any combination of filter positions.

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Additional information

Key Features

• Stepping times down to 30msec between adjacent filters, 50msec between opposite ones
• Continuous spinning up to 7,500 rpm (higher speeds potentially available to special order), set by internal or external reference frequency
• Compact size, only 100 x 100 x 35mm
• Two filter wheels can be mounted within the same overall 35mm optical path length
• Simple filter loading system (leaves camera in place)
• Six standard 25mm filter positions per wheel
• Paired wheels can simulate a single ten-position wheel, with substantial speed advantage
• Control via USB or digital interface
• USB controller for up to two wheels
• Full range of microscope adapters for illumination and detection
• Fully supported in NIS – Elements, Micro-Manager and MetaMorph


• Multi channel fluorescence imaging
• High speed ratiometric imaging
• Spectrophotometry
• Low-vibration microscopy

Recent Publications


  • Fission Yeast NDR/LATS Kinase Orb6 Regulates Exocytosis via Phosphorylation of the Exocyst Complex – Read here 

Pre 2019

1) Heterogeneous properties of central lateral and parafascicular thalamic synapses in the mouse striatum – Read Here

2) Heme oxygenase-1 regulates cell proliferation via carbon monoxide-mediated inhibition of T-type Ca2+ channels – Read Here