If you do not find the answer to your question here, send us an e-mail or give us a call. You can find our contact information here.

Questions about the CMIC:

Questions about the C1 Confocal:

  1. Why can't I focus on my sample?
  2. Why is the focusing knob stuck?
  3. Why doesn't the signal from the various channels in my image align perfectly.


Questions about the CMIC:

1. How do I sign-up for particular instrument?

All reservations for CMIC equipment is facilitate through the use of online calendars accessible from the CMIC web site. Please remember to leave your phone number when you sign up.
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2. How do I get training for using an instrument?
To use the equipment provided by the CMIC you must first go through an orientation. During the orientation we will introduce the various facilities we offer at the CMIC and schedule the appropriate training. Training will sometimes be delayed a few days so that several users can get trained together.
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3. I already know how to use this type of instrument, do I still need to be registered and trained to use it?
We need to meet and register everyone who is going to use the facilities at the CMIC. We can discuss your individual training needs at the orientation. Orientations can usually be scheduled within a couple of days.
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4. Where is a particular instrument?
All the instruments available through the CMIC are described in the instruments section of this web site. There you can find the location of each instrument and much, much more.
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5. Do you have the tools and reagents I need?
We list all the CMIC resources on this web site. At this time we do not provide any consumable reagents to our users. If you are still uncertain if we have what you need, or if you think we should have something that we don't have, you can always contact us directly. We are always happy for suggestions on how to make the CMIC more useful for you.
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6. Which dye/flurophore is compatible with your equipment?
There are limitations on the types of fluorescent molecules we can use efficiently on the CMIC instruments. If you want to know if a certain molecule will work you need to know the "excitation" and "emission" characteristics of your molecule. You can then compare that to the capabilities of the instrument you want to use. This information is available in the instrument section of this web site. If you still are not sure we will be happy to talk to you about it.
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7. I only have one experiment to do, do I need to learn how to use the equipment myself or can you just do it for me?
We are willing to do some limited contract work. We try not to do contract work for most projects, and instead train students and post-docs to do the work themselves.
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Technical Question:

1. Why can't I focus on my sample?

There are several reasons you may be having difficulties focusing on your sample. If you are having trouble turning the focusing know please refer to "Why is the focusing knob stuck?" If you can turn the focusing knob but you can't make your sample focus, first try focusing while viewing widefield fluorescence through the ocular rather than using the confocal directly (the confocal does not see any light outside a very thin optical plane, so if your sample is thin it can be very easy to miss). Always find your object of interest and your focal plane with a lower magnification objective before using a high magnification objective.

Check the following common causes for trouble focusing on your sample:

  1. The slide is dirty.
  2. The objective is dirty.
  3. Your sample plane is below the working distance of the objective.

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2. Why is the focusing knob stuck?
Fine focus:
If the fine focus knob will not turn easily - the fine focus knob can not be used when the remote focusing control box is engaged. If you wish to use the fine-focusing knob on the microscope you must disengaging the motor first, by pulling the lever on the remote focusing motor (left side of the microscope) towards you.

Coarse focus:
If the coarse focusing knob will not turn in either direction - the coarse focusing knob has a resistance adjustment sleeve at its base. Turning this sleeve can change the amount of force it takes to turn the coarse focusing knob. If this sleeve is set too loose the focus will drift!
If the coarse focusing knob will not turn clockwise (moving the objective up) - if the fine focus is used to focus the move the objective down, and the coarse focus is used to move the objective up, the coarse focus may reach the end of its range. To fix this problem use the fine focus (using the remote or directly on the microscope) to bring the objective up, then use the coarse focus to bring the objective down.
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3. Why doesn't the signal from the various channels in my image align perfectly?
Some versions of Nikons EZ-C1 software had an error that allowed separate channels to be scanned with different periods for the laser (laser scan rate) resulting in pixel shift between passes. Their "solution" to this problem was to make it impossible to change the period between passes in newer versions of their software. If you have any datasets that suffer from this problem there is little we can do.


SFSU Link
Last modified 6/9/04.