Aura phase contrast illuminator

Ring-light phase contrast illuminator for inverted microscopes that eliminates the traditional transmitted condenser

  • Allows true Zernike phase contrast with extra working space around a sample
  • Excellent for complex experiments in electrophysiology, live cell imaging, and multimodal time lapse


Complex experiments in the fields of electrophysiology and live cell imaging often require the use of instrumentation near the sample. The Aura phase contrast illuminator provides extra working distance, up to 180 mm, for these demanding experiments. The Aura uses concentric rings of super-bright LEDs in place of the conventional condenser and phase rings.

The Aura system provides the simplest possible alignment, the highest-quality phase contrast images, and is directly compatible with the best modern inverted research microscopes for electrophysiology, live cell imaging, and multimodal time lapse experiments. Aura allows turn-key PhL, Ph1, and Ph2 imaging in white light or the near infrared, and integrates with most existing systems through Cairn’s flexible timing and control systems.


Schema standard phase vs Aura

Comparative optical schema. (A) Optical schema for conventional Zernike phase contrast microscopy, consisting of collimated light source, phase annulus, condenser assembly and phase contrast objective lens. Inset view of objective BFP via Bertrand lens showing overlapped phase annulus and phase ring. (B) Optical schema for condenser-free Zernike phase contrast consisting of LED ring and phase contrast objective. Inset view of objective BFP showing overlapped image of LED.


Working distance

Up to 180 mm


Phase rings supported

PhL, Ph1, and Ph2

Control options

TTL/Analog, USB (with optional adapter) and manual

Ultra-long working distance

Ideal for electrophysiology and other micromanipulation applications

Easy to align

Ideal for multiuser facilities - no condenser to align.

Supports both phase contrast and brightfield imaging

Flexible application uses

  • Electrophysiology
  • Live cell imaging
  • Time-lapse and multimodal integration
  • Simultaneous fluorescence and transmitted light
  • Simultaneous high speed and high resolution

Additional Information

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