DYNAMIC
TEMPERATURE
CONTROL

Microscopic temperature control of your sample volume for high-resolution optical microscopy. Just set the temperature and start your measurement. Let VAHEAT do the rest.

about temperature control in high resolution microscopy.

Key Features

VAHEAT is a precise temperature control unit for optical microscopes. It combines local heating with direct temperature sensing in the sample volume. This allows for fast and precise temperature adjustment with heating rates up to 100°C/s while maintaining highest temperature precision. Made for investigations of temperature-sensitive processes in life sciences and material research.

Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C
Superb Imaging Quality

Extreme temperature stability on long (hours to days) and short (seconds to minutes) time scales down to 0.01°C (rms). External temperature variations due to air flow, fluid exchange etc. will be detected and compensated via direct temperature feedback inside the sample volume.

Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems
4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility
Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C
Superb Imaging Quality

Extend your experimental temperature range to 100°C (standard range) or even up to 200°C (extended range) depending on your experimental needs. The standard range version is compatible with oil-immersion systems while the extended range version can be operated with air objectives.

Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems
4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility
Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C
Superb Imaging Quality

No optical aberration up to 80 °C with the highest numerical aperture objectives on the market. Perfectly suited for single molecule and super resolution studies using state-of- the-art methods (STORM, STED, TIRF, etc.). For more see Technical Performance.

Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems
4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility
Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C
Superb Imaging Quality
Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems
4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility

VAHEAT lets you control the temperature inside the field of view independently from the type of microscope objective or the objective’s temperature. The system is designed as standalone unit without the need for any additional modifications to the optical setup (e.g objective heater) in order to avoid a temperature sink in your field of view. Additionally, the specific design of our smart substrates ensures that the objective’s performance is not altered even at higher temperatures.

Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C
Superb Imaging Quality
Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems
4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility

VAHEAT is equipped with four heating modes for different experiments depending on your needs. Modes for fast heating, auto-compensated heating, or well-defined temperature profiles are available.

Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C
Superb Imaging Quality
Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems
4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility

No thermal drifts or vibrations even at elevated temperature allow precise single molecule localization. We designed VAHEAT to be compatible with all commercial microscopes. No further modifications of your setup are needed. Its fast thermal response allows for nearly instantaneous thermalization tremendously reducing the waiting times as usual with conventional heating systems.

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Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C

Extreme temperature stability on long (hours to days) and short (seconds to minutes) time scales down to 0.01°C (rms). External temperature variations due to air flow, fluid exchange etc. will be detected and compensated via direct temperature feedback inside the sample volume.

Superb Imaging Quality
Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems
4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility
Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C

Extend your experimental temperature range to 100°C (standard range) or even up to 200°C (extended range) depending on your experimental needs. The standard range version is compatible with oil-immersion systems while the extended range version can be operated with air objectives.

Superb Imaging Quality
Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems
4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility
Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C
Superb Imaging Quality
Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems

No optical aberration up to 80 °C with the highest numerical aperture objectives on the market. Perfectly suited for single molecule and super resolution studies using state-of- the-art methods (STORM, STED, TIRF, etc.). For more see Technical Performance.

4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility
Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C
Superb Imaging Quality
Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems

VAHEAT lets you control the temperature inside the field of view independently from the type of microscope objective or the objective’s temperature. The system is designed as standalone unit without the need for any additional modifications to the optical setup (e.g objective heater) in order to avoid a temperature sink in your field of view. Additionally, the specific design of our smart substrates ensures that the objective’s performance is not altered even at higher temperatures.

4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility
Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C
Superb Imaging Quality
Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems
4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility

VAHEAT is equipped with four heating modes for different experiments depending on your needs. Modes for fast heating, auto-compensated heating, or well-defined temperature profiles are available.

Temperature stability of 0.01°C (rms)
Extended temperature range up to 200 °C
Superb Imaging Quality
Fast and reliable - made for oil immersion systems
4 Heating Modes
Mechanical stability and device compatibility

No thermal drifts or vibrations even at elevated temperature allow precise single molecule localization. We designed VAHEAT to be compatible with all commercial microscopes. No further modifications of your setup are needed. Its fast thermal response allows for nearly instantaneous thermalization tremendously reducing the waiting times as usual with conventional heating systems.

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Components

Control Unit

The control unit is the interface between you and your sample temperature. It displays the current temperature and allows to easily adjust the temperature by turning a single knob. An USB interface grants remote control and synchronization of the system parameters with your image acquisition. Four heating modes are available to meet your specific needs.
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VAHEAT can be operated in four different modes that will ideally fit your experimental needs.

Smart Substrates

The smart substrates replace the conventional cover slips. The integrated heating element with the highly sensitive temperature sensor allows fast and precise temperature control inside the field of view without compromise on the imaging quality. The substrates are designed as multi-use disposable and come in three different options. The heated area is for all options 5 x 5 mm2. The surface facing your sample is glass and can be chemically functionalized.
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SmS
STANDARD RANGE

Dimension: 18x18x0.17 (± 0.05) mm³
Temp. range: RT - 105°C

The standard range smart substrates are optimized for high-resolution studies similar to #1.5 coverslips. They have a size of 18 x 18 mm² and a thickness of 170 µm. We specify their full functionality up to 100 °C with heating powers up to 2.5 W. The flat substrates are ideally suited to integrate a reservoir, study thin films or use an own design of a microfluidic chamber.

SmS-R
STANDARD RANGE WITH RESERVOIR

Dimension: 18x18x0.17 (± 0.05) mm³
Temp. range: RT - 105°C
Volume: 100 - 600 µL

The smart substrates equipped with a reservoir made of silicone are meant for investigating liquid samples of a maximal volume of 600 µL. All materials used are non-cytotoxic and meet the highest standards for live-cell imaging. The SmS-R are suited for micro stage top incubation. Upon request we can provide additional glass slides for sealing the reservoir.

SmS-E
EXTENDED RANGE

Dimension: 18x18x0.5 mm³
Temp. range: RT - 200°C

The extended range smart substrates are made for temperatures up to 200 °C. They are 500 µm thick, similar to #5 coverslips and are compatible with the extended range control unit.

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SmS
STANDARD RANGE

Dimension: 18x18x0.17 (± 0.05) mm³
Temp. range: RT - 105°C

The standard range smart substrates are optimized for high-resolution studies similar to #1.5 coverslips. They have a size of 18 x 18 mm² and a thickness of 170 µm. We specify their full functionality up to 100 °C with heating powers up to 2.5 W. The flat substrates are ideally suited to integrate a reservoir, study thin films or use an own design of a microfluidic chamber.

SmS-R
STANDARD RANGE WITH RESERVOIR

Dimension: 18x18x0.17 (± 0.05) mm³
Temp. range: RT - 105°C
Volume: 100 - 600 µL

TThe smart substrates equipped with a reservoir made of silicone are meant for investigating liquid samples of a maximal volume of 600 µL. All materials used are non-cytotoxic and meet the highest standards for live-cell imaging. The SmS-R are suited for micro stage top incubation. Upon request we can provide additional glass slides for sealing the reservoir.

SmS-E
EXTENDED RANGE

Dimension: 18x18x0.5 mm³
Temp. range: RT - 200°C

The extended range smart substrates are made for temperatures up to 200 °C. They are 500 µm thick, similar to #5 coverslips and are compatible with the extended range control unit.

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Microscope Adapter

The heart of the VAHEAT system are the smart substrates that integrate a transparent thin film heating element with a highly sensitive temperature probe. The smart substrates with a heated area of 5 x 5 mm2 are inserted into the substrate holder that is connected to the control unit. As soon as the connector head establishes the connection between smart substrate and control unit, the temperature is being measured and you can start heating.

The microscope adapter fits into most of the common microscope stages due to its size of 75 mm x 25 mm (3” x 1”). Its slim design with a maximal height of 11 mm allows unrestricted access from above. The microscope adapter is thermally insulated from the heated area and stays at room temperature even for sample temperatures of 200 °C. Simply prepare your sample on the smart substrates, insert it into the microscope adapter and position it onto your translation stage to start your measurement. VAHEAT takes care of precise temperature control.

VAHEAT in microscope adapter

The User Interface​

The platform independent user interface (UI) allows to remotely control the VAHEAT device, program arbitrary temperature profiles and stream temperature data to the local hard disk. You can use it for precise and live control of sample temperature and current heating power. Simply connect the control unit via USB to the computer and start the measurement remotely.

This is what our customers think about VAHEAT

“One part of my laboratory works on transcription factors in the germline of C.elegans and liquid-liquid phase separation. Temperature dependence is one of the better ways to show whether protein foci are formed by a phase transition mechanism or not. I have done temperature dependent experiments in the past with a home built system and I know how difficult it is. Compared to that, the VAHEAT system is really easy to use across many microscopes and samples. We use it for C.elegans, zebrafish and single cells."

Dr. Senthil Arumugam
EMBL Australia/Monash University

“I had a chance to work with VAHEAT at the Woods Hole Physiology course. We combined VAHEAT with our custom microfluidic devices and imaged live archaeal cells for single-cell growth curves of many different species. We leveraged VAHEAT fine temperature controls to create gradient ramps over long periods of time time to optimize the growth of mixed populations. VAHEAT is a great tool for cell biologists that rely on challenging temperature ranges, and it can be even better with a larger heated surface area to allow multi-fluidic channels for high-throughput imaging."

Dr. Alexandre Bisson
Brandeis University

"VAHEAT allows precise and fast temperature control in our TIRF measurements where we are investigating switchable DNA origami mechanisms.“

Prof. Hendrik Dietz
TU Munich

“At the beginning I was a bit sceptical about the substrates. However, they can be cleaned and reused. We have tested several heating systems that can heat above 37°C. This one was by far our favourite."

Dr. Kerstin Göpfrich
MPI for Medical Research, Heidelberg

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"We use the VAHEAT to bring low molecular weight polymers to temperatures just above their glass transition temperature to study molecular motions and dynamic heterogeneity at the single molecule level in these systems. The fact that the VAHEAT allows us to achieve and maintain the temperature control needed on a coverslip in turn allows us to simultaneously perform imaging with the highest numerical aperture objectives available, maximizing collection of photons and limiting localization error of fluorescent probes. This ability facilitates characterization of translational mobility in these complex systems."

Prof. Laura Kaufman
Columbia University, New York City

“The instructions and equipment were very clear and intuitive to use. We very much enjoyed the magnets that lock components into place. In use, the temperature changed very rapidly according to the VAHEAT reading, though I allowed some extra time to equilibrate as my material is not very conductive. I need to carry out further analysis, but I am seeing what I expected to see in my results. The biggest advantage was indeed that I didn’t see any thermal drift: I didn’t need to refocus during my experiments, which is fantastic because I wanted to see fluorescence emission intensity in a single controlled plane. Overall, I think very highly of the VAHEAT and it was immensely helpful to me."

Dr. Liz Birchall
University of Nottingham

“Thanks to VAHEAT, we were able to perform live imaging of cell divisions in thermophilic Archaea for the first time in our lab. Another application, where we successfully used the instrument was to capture the swimming behaviour of Sulfolobus."

Dr. Marleen van Wolferen
University of Freiburg

“I tested VAHEAT in my experiments, where I image fluorescent thermoresponsive polymers. I found the device very useful and decided to purchase it. I combined the Smart Substrates with silicon spacers and another coverslip to form a custom small volume imaging chamber ideally suited for my samples."

Serena Teora
Radboud University

“I have tested VAHEAT in live cell imaging and for in vitro experiments with protein condensation. The device performance convinced me and I think that it could be another flexible option for temperature control for our users. I liked VAHEAT also as a “mere” temperature sensor. Perfect for quality control options for facility people, but also for individual users."

Dr. Josef Gotzmann
Head of BioOptics Facility, Max Perutz labs

“We were testing VAHEAT for two photon imaging of cellular processes in neurons. We were able to grow neuronal cultures on the Smart Substrates, although only mixed cultures and not pure primary neurons. The device itself worked well. I recorded SHG images and temperature was stable during the recordings. Personally I find this a quite handy device."

Tobias Martens
Cell Imaging Core at KU Leuven

“We are running experiments on DNA-modified self-assembling colloidal particles. We operate in a very narrow temperature range of 0.5°C around the melting temperature of our DNA oligonucleotides. For this type of measurement we have found VAHEAT heating stage very useful. In our setup, we used a bare VAHEAT substrate and glued a capillary on top of it. We filled the capillary with our solution, which allowed us to use a small sample volume, maintain very stable temperature over long periods of time, not having to worry about temperature drift or evaporation. This setup gave us sufficient control over the temperature to manipulate crystallization in our colloidal system."

Dr. Bas van Ravensteijn
Eindhoven University of Technology (Currently: Utrecht University)

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This is what our customers think about VAHEAT

“One part of my laboratory works on transcription factors in the germline of C.elegans and liquid-liquid phase separation. Temperature dependence is one of the better ways to show whether protein foci are formed by a phase transition mechanism or not. I have done temperature dependent experiments in the past with a home built system and I know how difficult it is. Compared to that, the VAHEAT system is really easy to use across many microscopes and samples. We use it for C.elegans, zebrafish and single cells."

Dr. Senthil Arumugam
EMBL Australia/Monash University

“I had a chance to work with VAHEAT at the Woods Hole Physiology course. We combined VAHEAT with our custom microfluidic devices and imaged live archaeal cells for single-cell growth curves of many different species. We leveraged VAHEAT fine temperature controls to create gradient ramps over long periods of time time to optimize the growth of mixed populations. VAHEAT is a great tool for cell biologists that rely on challenging temperature ranges, and it can be even better with a larger heated surface area to allow multi-fluidic channels for high-throughput imaging."

Dr. Alexandre Bisson
Brandeis University

"VAHEAT allows precise and fast temperature control in our TIRF measurements where we are investigating switchable DNA origami mechanisms.“

Prof. Hendrik Dietz
TU Munich

“At the beginning I was a bit sceptical about the substrates. However, they can be cleaned and reused. We have tested several heating systems that can heat above 37°C. This one was by far our favourite."

Dr. Kerstin Göpfrich
MPI for Medical Research, Heidelberg

"We use the VAHEAT to bring low molecular weight polymers to temperatures just above their glass transition temperature to study molecular motions and dynamic heterogeneity at the single molecule level in these systems. The fact that the VAHEAT allows us to achieve and maintain the temperature control needed on a coverslip in turn allows us to simultaneously perform imaging with the highest numerical aperture objectives available, maximizing collection of photons and limiting localization error of fluorescent probes. This ability facilitates characterization of translational mobility in these complex systems."

Prof. Laura Kaufman
Columbia University, New York City

“The instructions and equipment were very clear and intuitive to use. We very much enjoyed the magnets that lock components into place. In use, the temperature changed very rapidly according to the VAHEAT reading, though I allowed some extra time to equilibrate as my material is not very conductive. I need to carry out further analysis, but I am seeing what I expected to see in my results. The biggest advantage was indeed that I didn’t see any thermal drift: I didn’t need to refocus during my experiments, which is fantastic because I wanted to see fluorescence emission intensity in a single controlled plane. Overall, I think very highly of the VAHEAT and it was immensely helpful to me."

Dr. Liz Birchall
University of Nottingham

“Thanks to VAHEAT, we were able to perform live imaging of cell divisions in thermophilic Archaea for the first time in our lab. Another application, where we successfully used the instrument was to capture the swimming behaviour of Sulfolobus."

Dr. Marleen van Wolferen
University of Freiburg

“I tested VAHEAT in my experiments, where I image fluorescent thermoresponsive polymers. I found the device very useful and decided to purchase it. I combined the Smart Substrates with silicon spacers and another coverslip to form a custom small volume imaging chamber ideally suited for my samples."

Serena Teora
Radboud University

“We were testing VAHEAT for two photon imaging of cellular processes in neurons. We were able to grow neuronal cultures on the Smart Substrates, although only mixed cultures and not pure primary neurons. The device itself worked well. I recorded SHG images and temperature was stable during the recordings. Personally I find this a quite handy device."

Tobias Martens
Cell Imaging Core at KU Leuven

“I have tested VAHEAT in live cell imaging and for in vitro experiments with protein condensation. The device performance convinced me and I think that it could be another flexible option for temperature control for our users. I liked VAHEAT also as a “mere” temperature sensor. Perfect for quality control options for facility people, but also for individual users."

Dr. Josef Gotzmann
Head of BioOptics Facility, Max Perutz labs

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Technical Performance

Compatible Imaging Techniques

Total internal reflection microscopy (TIRM)

Confocal microscopy

Interferometric scattering microscopy (iSCAT)

Atomic force microscopy (AFM)

Super resolution methods (SIM, STORM, PALM, PAINT, STED)

Widefield microscopy

Total internal reflection microscopy (TIRM)​

Confocal microscopy

Interferometric scattering microscopy (iSCAT)

Atomic force microscopy (AFM)

Super resolution methods (SIM, STORM, PALM, PAINT, STED)

Widefield microscopy

Application Examples​

Publications