Andrology: standards to meet, means stages to heat

Like previous versions, the sixth edition of the "WHO laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen" emphasizes the temperature dependence of sperm motility. Different from the past, the conclusion is much clearer now: for obtaining valid motility analysis results, the sample temperature should be standardized and to achieve this, a heated microscope stage is strongly recommended. The much-cited "ambient temperature" can easily vary by 5°C over the year and therefore does not represent an accepted temperature standard. 

For decades, Minitube is the only manufacturer to retrofit heating systems into original microscope stages. For this purpose, cross-moving stages are disassembled and milled out from below. Heating elements and temperature sensors are installed into the milled-out area and wired (Fig. 1). There is a special pattern for each type of stage, depending on its geometry. Finally, the heating elements are fixed and embedded with black resin. The final result is a completely smooth and even surface, and even this is no longer visible when the table has been reassembled. Externally, the cross-moving stage remains unchanged, except the cable connecting it to one of the new HTi control units (Fig. 2). Before delivery, each table is subjected to a test run, which is documented as a test report. The heating performance is analyzed and adjusted if necessary.

The temperature of a Minitube heating system can be set, and is kept stable with an accuracy of ± 0.1°C, and within a range of ambient temperature to 55°C. Additionally, the new HTi control units offer advanced features like temperature logging and visual and audible alarm functions (Fig. 3). They can be intuitively operated via a graphically animated color touchscreen.

You have several options when intending to acquire a microscope with a heated, original stage: ask your microscope supplier for a Minitube heating system - we are collaborating with all microscope manufacturers and many third-party companies. Alternatively, we offer complete packages consisting of a microscope for sperm analysis with heated stage and HTi controller. You have a non-heated microscope and would like to have it retrofitted with a heating system? That's no problem either: send your microscope stage (or even the entire microscope) to us for installing the heating system. Request a quote from us and find out more about our heating systems!

Picture 1: Cross-moving stage as seen from below, milled out and with integrated heating elements prior to being sealed with black resin
Picture 2: Finished and ready for delivery: cross-moving stage of an upright microscope
Picture 3: HTi 50 – the single channel version of the new control unit, suitable for precise temperature control of a heated microscope stage
Andrology: standards to meet, means stages to heat