Observation Platform for Dynamic Biomedical and Biotechnology Experiments using the ISS Light Microscopy Module
The objective of the research is the completion of an observation platform for the ISS Light Microscopy Module (LMM) as it currently resides on the U.S. Fluids Integration Rack (FIR). In its current configuration the LMM accommodates a Contained Bubble Experiment, and it has no substage illuminator and limited epi-illumination. There is a need for future use of the LMM in more versatile fluids and biological experiments. A modular observation platform consisting of an electronics module and the first two of an eventual suite of experiment modules is proposed.A life science experiment module that allows investigators to load up to two different fluids and combine them in a hollow glass slide under the LMM objective lenses has been designed and built. It is suitable for the imaging, enumeration and evaluation of biological cells in suspension or attached to the glass surface of the hollow slide for on-orbit, real-time image cytometry. Fluids can be changed to initiate a process, fix biological samples or retrieve suspended cells.The colloid science experiment module will be designed for conduct of certain microparticle and nanoparticle experiments for investigation of the colloid self-assembly (CSA) phenomenon, among others. The colloid science module is being developed in response to the high level of interest in such a facility. It includes a hollow glass slide and heating elements for the creation of a thermal gradient from one end of the slide to the other.The life science and colloid science experiment modules mount atop the electronics module in the position on the LMM where the stage would be. The electronics module that contains a diffuse illuminator, power supplies for two piezo pumps, controller boards for pumps, valves and illuminator The electronics module is designed to receive power and control signals from the FIR/LMM system. The same electronics module will support the life science and colloid science experiment modules.
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