WO2015077837A1 - A specimen slide holder - Google Patents

A specimen slide holder Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2015077837A1
WO2015077837A1 PCT/AU2014/050378 AU2014050378W WO2015077837A1 WO 2015077837 A1 WO2015077837 A1 WO 2015077837A1 AU 2014050378 W AU2014050378 W AU 2014050378W WO 2015077837 A1 WO2015077837 A1 WO 2015077837A1
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WO
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
slide
magnet
frame
slide holder
member
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/AU2014/050378
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Michael Simon Krochmal
Garey LAKEN
Original Assignee
Autoscan Systems Pty Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B21/00Microscopes
    • G02B21/24Base structure
    • G02B21/26Stages; Adjusting means therefor
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01LCHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL LABORATORY APPARATUS FOR GENERAL USE
    • B01L9/00Supporting devices; Holding devices
    • B01L9/52Supports for flat sample carrier, e.g. used for plates, slides, chips
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01NINVESTIGATING OR ANALYSING MATERIALS BY DETERMINING THEIR CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
    • G01N1/00Sampling; Preparing specimens for investigation
    • G01N1/28Preparing specimens for investigation including physical details of (bio-)chemical methods covered elsewhere, e.g. G01N33/50, C12Q
    • G01N1/30Staining; Impregnating Fixation; Dehydration; Multistep processes for preparing samples of tissue, cell or nucleic acid material and the like for analysis
    • G01N1/31Apparatus therefor
    • G01N1/312Apparatus therefor for samples mounted on planar substrates
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01NINVESTIGATING OR ANALYSING MATERIALS BY DETERMINING THEIR CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
    • G01N15/00Investigating characteristics of particles; Investigating permeability, pore-volume, or surface-area of porous materials
    • G01N15/08Investigating permeability, pore-volume, or surface area of porous materials
    • G01N15/0806Details, e.g. sample holders, mounting samples for testing
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01NINVESTIGATING OR ANALYSING MATERIALS BY DETERMINING THEIR CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
    • G01N35/00Automatic analysis not limited to methods or materials provided for in any single one of groups G01N1/00 - G01N33/00; Handling materials therefor
    • G01N35/00029Automatic analysis not limited to methods or materials provided for in any single one of groups G01N1/00 - G01N33/00; Handling materials therefor provided with flat sample substrates, e.g. slides
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01LCHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL LABORATORY APPARATUS FOR GENERAL USE
    • B01L2200/00Solutions for specific problems relating to chemical or physical laboratory apparatus
    • B01L2200/02Adapting objects or devices to another
    • B01L2200/025Align devices or objects to ensure defined positions relative to each other
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01LCHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL LABORATORY APPARATUS FOR GENERAL USE
    • B01L2300/00Additional constructional details
    • B01L2300/02Identification, exchange or storage of information
    • B01L2300/021Identification, e.g. bar codes
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01LCHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL LABORATORY APPARATUS FOR GENERAL USE
    • B01L2300/00Additional constructional details
    • B01L2300/08Geometry, shape and general structure
    • B01L2300/0809Geometry, shape and general structure rectangular shaped
    • B01L2300/0822Slides

Abstract

A slide holder to receive slides having substantially differing dimensions is provided. The slide holder includes a frame surrounding an opening sized to accommodate slides having substantially differing dimensions. At least one recess is provided within the frame and at least one retaining member is receivable in said recess. The retaining member is selectively configurable in a first position to releasably retain a first slide having a first set of dimensions in a fixed position in the opening of the frame, and in a second position to releasably retain a second slide having a second set of dimensions in a fixed position in the opening of the frame. The first set of dimensions of the first slide is substantially different from the second set of dimensions of the second slide in at least one of length and width.

Description

"A specimen slide holder" Cims-R¾ference to Related A ppjieations

The present application claims priority from Australian Provisional Patent Application No 2013904632 filed on 29 November 2013, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

Technical Field

Embodiments relate to an improved specimen, slide holder for holding slides and, more particularly relate to a slide holder of a unitary construction for receiving attd temporarily securing one or more microscope slide of substantially differing dimensi ons in at least one of length or width.

Background

A standard microscope slide for hospital, laboratory and biological purposes generally measures 75 x 25mm and is typically between 1. mra and 2mm thick. Such slides are usuall made of optical quality glass such as borosiiicate glass or Pyrex™, however, specialty plastics may also be used, A range of other dimensions are available for special purpose such as the 46 x 27mm slide (known as a petrographic slide) and the 30 x 25mm slides which are cut. down from the standard 75 x 25mm slides, in some Life Science applications, single large glass supports measuring 75 x 50mm are also used, In view of the range of sizes available, (such slides having substantially differin dimensions in at least one of length and width) slide holders which can accommodate substantially different sizes/dimensions of slides for different purposes are desirable.

US 7,403,330 (US '330) teaches the use of a slide holder which accommodates the use of standard 75 x 25mm slides. Such slides are known to vary slightly (depending on the manufacturer) in the order of a few millimetres. Therefore, the slide holder taught by US '330 is provided with a spring loaded deiormable mechanism t accommodate such slight variations.. However, this slide holder is not designed to accommodate slides having substantially different dimensions, for instance a slide having dimensions of 27 x 46mm or a slide having dimensions of 25 x 30mm.

Fission track dating (FID) is one of a number of techniques employed in a field of geology known as the mochronology, which is concerned with determining the age and temperature history of rocks, Fission tracks are defects created in the crystal structure of certain minerals which contain naturally occurring, uranium. This discipline is important in oil exploration, among other endeavours. The activities involved are the counting of fissio tracks, and a statistical determination of their lengths. Fission, brack dating, whether undertaken traditionally by eye or via automated systems, is performed b using a research quality optical compound microscope, at magnifications in the order of 1 ,000 X, To achieve this, slide holders capable of securely holding sample slides is required, since at those high magnifications, mechanical position stability is critical.

The preparation .of a mineral sample for fission track dating is complex, labour- intensive, arid incorporates several critical steps. After the separation of the extremely small fraction, of suitable grains from the original rock (typically only comprising 0.1 to 1% of the mass of the original rock), the mineral grains are mounted in a medium which will support the grains through the process of grinding, polishing and etching. Depending .on the particular species of mineral involved, this medium is usually a type of epoxy resin (e.g. Petropoxy),: or sometimes Teflon™. In other applications, the specimens being examined are mounted directly on the slide, with or without the use of thin glass cove slips and/or immersion oil. Generally, but riot always, the magnifications used in the Life Sciences are lower than, those used in FTD. Regardless of the discipline, it should be appreciated, that it is important that slide specimens be held securely in a slide holder, especially if minute objects are to be relocated at a later time. Any uncertainty in the positioning of the slide translates directly into an uncertainty in the coordinates of a previously identified objec Throughout this specification the word "comprise", or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps, but not the exclusion of any other element, integer or step, or group of elements, integers or steps. Any discussio of documents, acts, materials, devices, articles or the like which has been, included in. the present specification is not to be taken as an admission, that any or all of these matters form part of the prior art base or were common general knowledge in the field relevant to the present disclosure as it existed before the priority date of each claim of this application. Summary

The subject of this application is an improved slide holder which features ease of use and versatility of application to various types of slides and sample supports, and is not necessarily limited t the currently commercially available glass microscope slides,

A slide holder to receive slides having substantially differing dimensions is provided, the slide holder comprising:

a frame surrounding an opening sized to accommodate slides having substantially differing dimensions;

at least one recess within the frame;

at least one retaining member receivable in said recess, said retaining member selectively configurable:

in a first position to releasably retain at least a first slide having a first set of dimensions in a fixed position in said opening; and

in a second position to releasably retain at least second slide having a second set of dimension in a fixed position in said opening;

where the first set of dimensions of the first slide is substantiall different from the second set of dimensions of the second slide, in at least one of length and width. In a first embodiment the frame of the slide holder may include a primary magnet and a secondary magnet offset from the primary magnet, wherein the primary magnet and the secondary magnet ate partially embedded into said recess of said frame.

In a second embodiment the frame of the slide holder may include a primary magnet partially embedded into said recess of said frame.

In either the first or the second embodiment, the retaining member may comprise a retaining magnet on a portion of its rear surface. The rear surface of the retaining member may he planar and the retaining magnet may be partially embedded therein. such that a surface of the retaining magnet sits flush with the plane of said rear surface.

In the first or the second embodiment, the retaining member may be further configurable in a third position to disengage the first slide with respect to the frame and in a fourth position to disengage the second slide with respect to the frame. Accordingly it is preferred that the slide holder is configurable suc that (i) in the first position the retaining magnet and the primary magnet attract one another and in the third position the retaining magnet and the primar magnet repel one another, and (ii) in the second position the retaining magnet and the primary magnet attract one another and in the fourth position the retaining magnet and the primary magnet repel, one another.

In the first embodiment, the secondary magnet is preferabl offset relative to the retaining magnet by an order of about I to 3 mm in the current embodiment, though it should be appreciated that it will generally depend on the actual shape, size and strength of the magnets used,

In. either embodiment it is preferred that the primary magnet, secondary magnet and retaining magnet are each permanent magnets. In a still preferred embodiment, the primar magnet, secondary magnet and retaining magnet are each high-intensity "rare earth" magnets. Examples include, but are not limited to magnets composed of materials such as neodyinium or samarium-cobalt.

The retaining member's upper surface may he configured, with a projecting element to enable sliding of the retaining member between the first and the third positions or the second and the fourth positions.

The frame is preferably of a unitary construction. The frame may be defined by a first member, a second member, a third member, and a fourth member, wherein the first member is generally parallel to the second member, and the third member is generall parallel to the fourth member, and wherein the first member mcludes a first support ledge and the second member includes a second support ledge that tiraverses the at least one recess. The length of the first member may be greater than the length of the second, member. In the first or the second position the retaining member may engage with a first end of the slide, and a second end of the slide which is generally parallel to the first end of the slid may engage with either the first support ledge or another slide.

In either the first or the second embodiment, the slide holder may further include: a support base on which to receive the at least one slide. The support base may be composed of glass or some other suitable, optically transparent and non-distorting material, such as some suitable plastics. The support base may be composed of Soda- lime or PyrexIM glass, However, if the sample of interest is opaque, this support base can also be opaque. In one embodiment, at least a portion of the area of the frame adjacent the frame's opening may be mounted ont the support base. In a further embodiment, at least a portion of the area of the frame adjacent the frame's opening may comprise a ledge on which to receive the at least one slide. In a still further embodiment, at least a portion of the area of the frame adjacent the frame's opening may comprise a slot into which slides are able to be inserted and retained with respect to the frame.

In an embodiment, the shape of the recess may substantially conform to the shape of the retaining member. The shap of the recess, may be substantially oblong. The frame may be configured to releasably retain said retaining member slidably within said recess. The frame may be configured to releasably retain the length of said retaining member entirely within said recess when the retaining member is in the first or the second position.

The retaining member may be configured with a chamfer along its respective sides and respective sides of the recess may be provided with an undercut into which the chamfered slides of the retaining member are intertable. The at least one recess may be provided in the first, member of the frame. The frame may include one, two, three, four or more recesses therein. Each recess is. preferably provided in the first member of the frame. There are preferably at least as many retaining members as there are recesses, The frame may be formed of aluminium, a metal such as but not limited to steel, a ceramic, a polymer, a thermoset or a plastic of some other nature (e.g. glass reinforced nylon or Kevlar-re foreed plastic). In an embodiment where the frame is formed of a metal, the metal is preferably non-magnetic,, in order to avoid interference with the magnetic mechanisms .

With particular reference t Fission Track Dating, certain embodiments of the current invention facilitate the ease and accuracy of the positioning process, in conjunction with a variety of (and in particular, but not necessarily, motorised) microscope stages. The frame may be configured so as to constitute an appropriate fit to the specific stage used, and embodies a mechanism which allows quick and simple removal and replacement of the assembly consisting of frame, slides and support member. An adapter may he provided which allow the slide holder according to any one of the embodiments described to be used in conjunction with a wide range of simple, stereo and compound microscopes, including digital camera "microscopes".

Brief description of the drawings

In order that the present invention may be more clearly ascertained, embodiments will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the. accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a top plan view of a first slide holder in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, with three slides, of equal dimensions positioned therein;

Figure 2a is a perspective view of the slide holder shown in Fig J ;

Figure 2b is a cross section through the recess (with the retaining member removed) at D-D shown in Fig. 1 ;

Figure 3 is a .rear view of the slide holder shown in Fig.1 ;

Figure 4 is a top plan view of a retaining member which forms part of the slide holder shown in Fig.1 ;

Figure 5 is. a rear plan view of the retaining member shown in Fig.4;

Figure 6 is a side elevation of the retaining member shown in Fig.4;

Figure 7 is a perspective rear view of the retaining member shown in Fig.4;

Figure 8 is a top plan view of a second slide holder in accordance wi th one embodiment of the invention showing the offset of the button magnet with respect to the primary and second magnets;

Figure 9 is a top plan view o a third slide holder in accordance -with one embodiment of the invention;

Figure 1.0 is a top perspective view of a slide holder in. accordance with another embodiment of the invention;

Figure 1 1 is a rear perspective view of the slide holder shown in Pig. 10;

Figure 12 is a top perspective view of a .retaining member which forms part of the slide holder shown, in Fig.10;

Figure 13 is a rear perspective view of the retaining member shown in Fig. 12;

Figure 14a is a perspective view of an adaptor plate for use with a slide holder in accordance with embodiments of the invention; Figure 14 is a bottom view of the adaptor plate shown in Fig. 14; and

Figure 15 is a perspective view of a further slide holder in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. Detailed description

Examples of the present invention will now be described with reference to the above figures wherein like numbers refer to like features throughout. As used herein tire term slide refers to all types of thin pieces of material, typically but not necessarily light transmitting, used as a specimen holder. Referring to figures 1 to 3, a slide holder 10 in accordance with a first example of the invention is shown. The slide holder 10 is shown as holding three slides 12 each having dimensions of 25 x. 30mm. The slide holder 10 includes a frame 1.4 having an opening 1.6 therein and a support base .18 (Fig. 3). The frame 14 is machined (using numerically controlled machining o other suitable manufacturing techniques, such as possibly 3D printing) out of aluminium, and is anodised for durability and appearance. The support base 18 is formed from glass or other suitable material and the support base is secured to a fine recess 1.9 around the perimeter of the opening 16, which can be seen i Figure 3. In this example of the invention, the support base 18 functions to receive and support slides, so that they do not fall through the opening .16 in the frame 14. It should be appreciated that a support base is not necessary in all examples of the inventions.

The frame 14 is of a. unitary Construction and is defined by a first member 20, a. second member 22, a third member 24, and a fourth member 26, wherein the first member 20 is parallel to the second member 22, and the third membe 24 is parallel to the. fourth member 2.6, The length of the first member 20 (at its longest extent) is approx. 60 mm and the length of the second member 22 is J 00mm. The width of the respective third 24 and fourth members 26 i approximately and 10mm respectively. The opening 16 has width of approximately 77mm and a height of approximately 33mm. A pair of oval openings 28 are provided so that the user can get a purchase on the slide holder 10 to extract it from a stage simply using two fingers.

The opening 16 is substantially rectangular and provided with a pair of semicircular notches 17, configured to ensure proper alignment of the glass slides 1,2 at either end of the opening. The seflaicifcuiar notches 17 also serve to collect any grit, dirt or other foreign objects which might prevent the achievement of proper alignment.

The first member 20 of frame .14 includes three recesses 30a, 30b, 30c therein. Each recess is configured to have the shape of a rectangle with a semicircle abutting one end. Referring to Figure 2B, each recess (of which only one 30a is shown) also features an undercut 11 along its length on both sides. This undercut 11 mates with a bevel or chamfer along the sides of the retainer buttons 40. and serves to ensure that the retainer buttons 40 do not fall out of their recesses if the frame 1.4 is inverted.

As is more clearly evident from Fig.3» embedded into each respective recess is a primary magnet 32 and a secondary magnet 34. The secondary magnet 34 is smaller than and offset from the primary magnet 32. To accommodate the two specified, slide dimensions, the primary magnet 32 is centred within the recess at a distance of approximately 7.5mm from the edge of the first member 20 adjacent the window 16, The secondary magnet 34 is centred within the recess at a distance, of approximately 1.7.5mm from the edge of the .first member 20 adjacent the window 16. Each of the primary and secondary magnets are rare earth -permanent magnets. As discussed above, the slide holder 10 further includes three retaining members in the form of retainer buttons 40 designed with the in tention of manual actuation. Figures 4 to 7 show the configuration of each of the retainer buttons 40 in more detail.

Referring in. particular to figures 4 and 6, each retainer button 40 is formed from a rectangle wi th respective short ends abutted with a semicircle. In this embodiment the retainer buttons 40 are made of a non-magnetic metal, A ridge 46 is formed partway there-between which divides the retainer button into two parts, depicted as part 'A" 42. and as part "B" 44 and the ridge enables ease of sliding the retainer button 40 within the recess, It should be appreciated that for different sized slides, these buttons may have different and appropriate lengths, and are otherwise identified for other slide sizes. The intention is that the buttons can. be reversed within their recesses by sliding them, out of the free end of their recess, and then reinserting them in reverse. On the other hand, if a slide holder is intended for only one size and shape of slide, then the buttons may be intended for "single-ended" use (i,e.. not reversible). The various buttons may be of various lengths, depending on the intended purpose. The respective long sides 41 of the retainer buttons 40 are bevelled whereas the respective ends 45 of the retainer buttons 40 are vertical. The retainer buttons 40 are bevelled to assist in their correct positioning in their respective recess whereas the ends 45 are vertical, so that the retainer button 40 engages the respective slide with a maximum area.

Each frame is labelled, to indicate which buttons are intended for use with that frame, in order to avoid accidental mix-and-match with other frames. Referring in particular to figure 6, each retainer button 40 has a length of 30mm, a height at the ridge 46 of 3.30mm arid a height at the extremity of the buttons of 1.00mm. It is desired to kee the profile of the retainer button 40 to a minimum in order to retain a sufficient working distance when the slide holder is retained in position on a microscope which is operating with a high-power objective. In such a circumstance, the "working distance" of the objective is very small (only of the order of a fraction of a mm), and collisions must be avoided since high-power objectives are very expensive and easily damaged.

Referring in particular to figures 6 and 7, the rear surface of each retainer button 40 has embedded therein a retainer button magnet 50. The rear surface of the button 40 is planar and the retainer button magnet 50 is embedded therein such that the retainer button magnet sits flush with the rear- surface of the button 40. The retainer butto magnet 50 is centred over the ridge 46 and is a rare earth permanent magnet, which ensures a high magnetic field intensity.

It should be appreciated that the retainer buttons are entirely removable from the recesses. Referring back to figures 1 to 3, the retainer buttons 40 have been configured in the "A" position in the respective recesses. That is, the "A" symbol on each of the buttons is closest to the respective slide . Furthermore, th pair of outer retainer buttons 40 are further configured in an engaged position, that is the respective retainer button 40 has been slid towards the slid until, the retainer button magnet 50 engages at least a portion of the primary magnet 32. In thi position the slide is retained in place with respect to the frame b the magnetic holding force acting between magnet 50 and magnet 32.

Engraved on the second member 22 of the frame are the dimensions that the slide holde can accommodate. Slide holder 10 can accommodate either three slides havin dimensions of 25mm x 30mm (wherein the retainer buttons are configured in the "A" position), or one slide having dimensions 75mm x 25mm (wherein the retainer buttons are configured in the "B" position).

When, the slide holder is employed to retain a single 75mm x 25mm. slide, the pair of outer retainer buttons 40 may be configured in an unengaged position, whilst the central retainer button 40 is configured in die "B" position in the respective recess. In the "B" position the "B" symbol will be closest to the respective slide. Furthermore, the central retainer button 40 is configured in an engaged position, that is the central retainer button 40 will be slid towards the slide until the retainer' button magnet 50 engages at least a portion of the primary magnet 32. In this position the 75 25mm slide will be retained in place with respect to the frame, it should also be appreciated that it is also possible to slide all three retainer buttons 40 into the engaged position when using a single75mm x 25mm slide, The offset of each of the primary 32 and secondar magnet 34 with respect to the retainer button magnet. 50 is an important consideration, to ensure that there is a sustained unidirectional holding torque (along the long axis of the buttons) to keep the slide samples 60 in place in the engaged position, or to hold the retainer buttons 40 clear of the slide locations, for loading. Figure 8 exemplifies this visually. As will be appreciated, if either the first magnet 32 and the retainer button magnet 50 or the second magnet 34 and the retainer button magnet 50 are placed directl on top of each other, the holding torque diminishes considerably.

In the example shown in figure 8, the retainer buttons 40 have been configured in the "C" position in the respective recesses and the central retainer button 40 is further configured in an engaged position. As is evident, the primary magnet 32 is offset by a. margin of approximately 2mm with respect to the retainer button magnet 50, this being an appropriate "offset distance" for the particular size, shape and strength of the currentl used magnet, The pair" of outer retainer buttons 40 are configured in an unengaged position. As is evident in -this, configuration the secondary magnet 34 is offset by a margin of 2.4mm with respect to the retainer button magnet 50.

An additional, very useful, feature of these manually operated retainer buttons 40 is their "bistable" operation. This is achieved by the use of the small secondary magnet 34, and the length of travel that extends beyond the range of th associated primary magnet 32, This bistable feature means that the slides 60 are being actively held in place by the retainer buttons at one extreme, and the retainer buttons 40 are held out of the way of the slides (to. facilitate slide loading) at the other extreme.

As should be evident from the foregoing description a d diagrams, to load respective slides, the retainer buttons 40 are retracted until the respective retainer buttons 40 stay retracted: without operator intervention. The secondar magnet 32 assists in retaining the retainer button 40 in this retracted position. A slide 12 (figure 1) is loaded, into position with its retaining button 40 in the retracted position and typically loaded against the to edge of the opening 16. Once the slides have been loaded, the retainer buttons 40 are then moved forward by sliding them in their respective recess until the button magnet 50 moves almost over the centre of the primary magnet 32 and into the holding position. The retaining button 40 is now appropriately tensioned against the glass slide 12. The small space at the bottom end of the slides 12 (i.e. the button end) f acili tates removal of the slides from the frame 14. Figure 9 is a fop plan view of a third sLide holder 10 in accordance with the invention. Slide holder 10 is capable of accommodating three slides having dimension of 27mm x 46mm (wherein the retainer buttons are configured such that the C direction engages the respective slide), or two slides 65 having dimensions 75mm x 25mm (wherein the retainer buttons are configured such that the D direction engages the respective slides). Figures 10 to 13 show a slide holder 1.00 in accordance with a second example of the invention. The slide holder 100 includes a unitary frame 104 having an opening 106 therein and a thin support base 108 (Fig. 1.1). The unitary frame 104 is defined by a first member 120, a second member 122, a third, member 124» and a fourth member .126. The length of the first member 120 (at its longest extent) is 60 mm and the length of the second member 122 is. .1 0 mm. The width of the respective third 124 and fourth members 126 is approximately 9 and 10 mm. respectively. The window 106 has a width of approximatel 77mm and a height of 33mm. Cut into the second member are three semi-circular opening 128. These semi-circular openings 128 facilitate placement of slides into die slide holder 100 and removal of the slides from the slide holder 100.

The first member 120 of frame 104 includes three recesses 130a, 130b, 130c therein. As is more clearly evident from Fig. i l, a single magnet 1.32 is partially embedded into each respective recess. Each magnet 132 is centred within its respective recess at a distance of 7.5mm from the edge of the first member 120 adjacent the window 106. The slide holder 100 further includes three retaining members in the form of retainer buttons 140 designed with the intention of manual actuation. Figures 12. and 13 show configuration of each of the retainer buttons 140 in more detail. Each retainer button. 40 is made of a non-magnetic metal and is formed from a rectangle with respective short ends abutted with a semicircle.

Engraved on the second member 122 of the frame are the dimensions that the slide holder can accommodate. This slide holder 100 can accommodate either three slides having dimensions of 25mm x 30mm (wherein the retainer buttons are configured in the "A" position),- or one slide having dimensions 75mm. x 25mm (wherein the retainer buttons are configured in the " 8" position).

The retainer buttons 140 as illustrated have been configured in an "A" position in the respective recesses. That is, the "A" symbol on each of the buttons is closest to the respective slide. All retainer buttons 140 are further configured in an engaged position, that is the retainer button magnet 150 engages at least a portion, of the magnet .132. In this position the slide is retained in place with respect to the frame.

Retainer buttons 140 behave as though they were spring-loaded. The travel of the respective buttons 140 within respecrive recesses 130a, 130b, 130c is restricted by the magnetising action of the magnets and the restricted length of the recesses such that they are never able to move far enough back, in the recess, such that the do not hold the respective slides in place. The slides 145 are loaded by pushing them against the respective retainer button 140 while being held at the top edge of the opening 106. The slides 145 are then clicked into place by pushing against the button "springs". Removal of the slides 145 is facilitated by the semi-circle openings 1 8. When the slid holder is employed to retain a single 75mm x 25mm slide, the retainer buttons 140 will be spun 180 degrees so that the "B" symbol will he closest t the .respective slide. Furthermore, one or all of the retainer buttons 140 will be configured in an engaged position, the retainer button magnet 50 of each or all of the retainer buttons engages at least a portion of the magnet 132, the slides are actively held in place by a residual holding torque from the respective magnets. The slide holders herein described are able to be held in place on a proprietory stage magnetically (via attachment magnet 70) and can be removed quickly and easily for loading and unloading. The slide holders described above are also able to be utilised with different stage models and are described for use with compound microscopes which typically have a stage incorporated. However, not all stage models enable use of the simple magnetic attachment. In such situations an adapter plate may be used Figures .14a and 14b show front and rear vie ws of an adapter plate 1.50 for use of a slide holder 10 (100) with (in. this ease) a stage supplied by the German microscope company Carl Zeiss, and manufactured by the Germa stage manufacturing company Marzhaiiser'i:M, referred to here, for simplicity, as a Zeiss™ stage. Typically with Zeiss stages, slide holders must be screwed to the top of the stage. This process is fiddly and time consuming. The inventors have therefore developed aft adapter plate for use with 3rd party stages such as the Zeiss™ stage. In use, the adapter plate 150 is permanently screwed on to the Zeiss™ stage via notches 152.

A slide holder magnet 154, is partially embedded in a cavity 156 (visible in Fig. 14b) and formed so as to snugly and removably house the tab (square in this embodiment, but being able to be of any suitable shape) at the top of slide holder 10 (100) and which engages with the attachment magnet 70 which forms part of slide holder 1 (100), Again, the respective magnets are offset to maintain magnetic holding power. Other adapter designs could be generated in order to make the current invention usable with other brands of microscopes and stages.

The inventive concept may also be used in conjunction with stereo microscopes. Stereo microscopes are typically not provided with a stage, and generally operate at lower powers of iiiagnification. The design of suitable means of attachment of the slide holders t other types of microscope (such, as stereo microscopes) would be a relatively trivial exercise.

It should be appreciated that the slide holder as described can be modified to accommodate slides having essentially any dimension, for example: a) standard microscope slides, typically measuring 25 75 x 1 mm, b) cut-down standard microscope slides, typically measuring 25 x 30 x 1 mm, e) "petrographic" slides, typically measuring 27 x 46 x 1.2 mm, d) "pseudo - petrographic" slides, created by cutting down a standard slide, and typically measuring 25 x 46 x 1. mm. (i.e. having the same length as a standard petrographic slide, which is commercially available, hut cut from a standard slide, and. therefore having the standard width of 25 mm instead of the usual 27 mm) and e) biological sample slides, typically measuring 50 x 75 x 1 mm, and many other possibilities, which may vary in any or all of length, width, or thickness. The retainer buttons can be reversed to allow one carrier to cater for more than one of these types of slides.

Furthermore, the slide holder as described can be modif ied to accommodate a multitude of slides, the maximum merely limited by the space available, and the maximum travel of a given stage. Therefore, in accordance with die invention the slide holder may for instance accommodate sight slides, in two rows of four, given a stage with sufficiently large travel. The number of retainer buttons would be varied to suit.

Whilst the embodiments above are described as being machined from aluminium, there is nothing that would prevent other materials, being used. Depending on the application of u&e, other suitable materials include various metals, such as steel or other metals, and a large variety of machinable ceramics, polymers and other plasties. If injection mouldin is economically feasible for a given application, then there is a large range of high-quality plastic which could well be suitable, and in the case of metals, any of a number of casting processes could be used it is also passible to manufacture these embodiments by using a 3D printing process and indeed, the prototypes were produced in this manner. Ideally, if metals are used, they should be non-magnetic, in order to not interfere with the actions of the magnets. This can be done even with steels, as some grades of stainless steel, for instance, are non-magnetic (whereas others, such as those used to build refrigerator outer eases, are magnetic). Needless to say, both slide holder frames, buttons and support base could be manufactured ill transparent, translucent or opaque material and with an desired or required colour.

As will be appreciated, frames manufactured from some plastics will feature some extent of warp and dimensional distortion. Therefore, plastic slide frames are not suitable for studies that require magnifications in the order of Ι,ΟΟΟ (ΙΟΟ objective with 3 Ox eyepieces), but are suitable for certain lif sciences and other applications which often use much lower magnifications. Whilst the buttons in the embodiments above are described as being machined from a βοη-magnetic metallic material, buttons 40 are able to be manufactured in a wide range of materials, for instance a plastic or some other (preferably non-magnetic) metal instead. The buttons could also be suitably plated or coated with a (possibly coloured) material,, both for appearance and possibly better grip.

The embodiments above are described as having a support base 18 (108). A support base 18 (108) provides advantages, notably that the sample slides 12 (60) can be more easily supported, and cannot slip out of the operator's hands and through the aperture in the stage.

However, it will be appreciated that in some applications, the presence of a support base 18 (108) is not acceptable. For instance for some biological applications, the image degradation caused b the extra glass or other material from which the support base is formed may be unacceptable. In order to obtain optimum image quality, it is also necessary for the microscope condenser (in the case of transmitted light applications) to be as close as possible to the sample, and in. the best case will actually just touch the bottom of the slide. In such cases where a support base is not acceptable, the slide ma he supported, by a narrow shelf on either side of the slide holder's opening. An illustration of such an embodiment is shown in figure 15. Here supporting shelves 1 0 have been machined directly into the slide holder 10, adjacent the opening 16 on left (adjacent the fourth member 26) and right (adjacent the third member 24) which function, to directt support the slide 1.70 without the medium, of a support base. Alternatively, the frame 14 (124) may feature a wider recess to support the slides, especially in the case of the full-size 75 x. 50 mm glass support slides. Still further the wall surrounding the opening may be of a sufficient depth such that when a retaining member is in a first position, the retaining member abuts a first end of the slide, and the opposite end of the slide abuts the wall surrounding the opening, this option is particularly suitable for the example shown in figures 10 to 13, where the frame has semi-tireula openings 128 cut therein to facilitate placement of slides into the slide holder 100 and removal of the slides from the slide holder 100.

Of course, a combination of these may also be possible, with a removable support glass. It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and or modifications may be made to the above-described embodiments,, without departing from the broad general scope of the present disclosure. The present embodiments ate, therefore, t be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. One possible variation might be to use tlexlble and resilient elastic materials or even spring instead of magnets to provide the holding force that retains the slides in place.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A slide holder to receive slides having substantially differing dimensions, the slide holder comprising:
a frame surrounding an opening sized to accommodate slides having substantially differing dimensions;
at least one recess within the frame;
at least one retaining member receivable in said recess, said retaining member selectively configurable:
in a first position t releasabiy retain at least a first slide having a first set of dimensions in a fixed position in said opening; and
in a second position to releasabiy retain at least a second slide having a. second set of dimensions in a fixed position in said opening;
where the first set of dimensions of the first slide is substantially different from the second set of dimensions of the second slide in at least one of length and width.
2. A slide holder according to claim i , further comprising primary magnet and a secondary magnet offset from the primary magnet, wherein the priinary magnet and the secondary magnet are partially embedded into said recess of said frame.
3. A slide holder according to claim 1, further comprising a primary magnet partially embedded into said recess of said frame.
4. A slide holder according t any one of the preceding claims* wherein the retaining member comprises a retaining magnet on a portion of its rear surface, the rear surface of the retaining member being planar.
.5, A slide holder according to claim 4, wherein the retaining magnet is partially embedded therein such that a surface of the retaining magnet sits flush with the plane! of said rear surface.
6. A slide holder according to an one of the preceding claims, wherein the retaining member is further configurable in a third position to disengage the first slide with respect to the frame and in a fourth position to disengage the second slide with respect to the frame.
7. A slide holder according to claim 4, wherein tire retaining member is configured such that:
(i in the first position the retaining magnet and the primary magnet attract one another;
( it ) in the third position the retaining magnet and the primary magnet repel one another and the retaining magnet and the secondary magnet attract one another;
(iii) in the second position the retaining magnet and the primary magnet attract one another; and
(iv) in the fourth position the retaining magnet and the primary magnet repel one another and the retaining magnet and the secondary magnet attract one another.
8. A slide holder according to claim 2 or claim 4 whe dependent, on claim 2, wherein the secondary magnet is offset relative to the retaining magnet by an order of about 1 to 3 mm.
9. · A slide holder according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the primary magnet, secondary magnet arid retaining magnet are each high-intensit "rare earth" magnets. 10. A slide holder according to claim 7, wherein the retaining member's upper surface is configured with a projecting element to enable sliding of the retaining member between the first and the third positions or the second and the fourth, positions.
11. A slide holder according to air one of the preceding claims, wherein the frame is defined by a first membe ;, a second member, a third member, and a fourth member, wherein the first member is generally parallel to the second member, and the third, member is generally parallel to the fourth member; and wherein the first member includes a first support ledge and the second memher include a second support ledge that traverses the at least one recess.
12. A slide holder according to claim II , wherein in the first or the second position, the retaining member engages with a first end of the slide, and a second end of the; slide which is generally parallel to the first end of the slide engages with either the first support ledge or another slide. 13
13. A slide holder according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a support base on which to receive the at least one slide.
14. A slide holder according to claim 13, wherein at least a portion of the area of the frame adjacent the frame's, opening forms a ledge on which to receive the at least one slide.
15. A slide holder according to claim 13, wherein at least a portion of the area of the frame adjacent the opening is provided with a slot into which the at least one slide is able to be inserted and retained with respect to the frame.
16. A slide holder .according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the shape of the recess is substantially oblong and substantially conforms to the shape of the retaining member.
17. A slide holder according to claim 16, -wherein the frame is configured to releasably retain said retaining member slidably within said recess,
18. A slide holder according to claim 17. wherein the frame is configured to releasably retain the length of said retaining member entirely within said recess when the retaining member is .in the first or the second position.
1:9. A slide holder .according to claim 17 or 18. wherein the retaining member is configured with a chamfer along its respective sides and the respective sides of the recess are provided with an undercut into which the chamfered slides of the retaining member are inseftable.
PCT/AU2014/050378 2013-11-29 2014-11-26 A specimen slide holder WO2015077837A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

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AU2013904632A AU2013904632A0 (en) 2013-11-29 A specimen slide holder

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
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Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5306467A (en) * 1993-02-17 1994-04-26 Hamilton-Thorn Research Apparatus for measurement of cell concentration in a biological sample employing a magnetic slide loading apparatus
US6825478B1 (en) * 2003-10-10 2004-11-30 Perseptive Biosystems, Inc. MALDI plate with removable magnetic insert
US7403330B2 (en) * 2001-03-15 2008-07-22 Leica Biosystems Melbourne Pty Ltd Slide holder for an automated slide loader

Patent Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5306467A (en) * 1993-02-17 1994-04-26 Hamilton-Thorn Research Apparatus for measurement of cell concentration in a biological sample employing a magnetic slide loading apparatus
US7403330B2 (en) * 2001-03-15 2008-07-22 Leica Biosystems Melbourne Pty Ltd Slide holder for an automated slide loader
US6825478B1 (en) * 2003-10-10 2004-11-30 Perseptive Biosystems, Inc. MALDI plate with removable magnetic insert

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