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Listen to ibidi’s recorded webinar Principles and Basics of Light Microscopy for Cell-Based Assays.

Cell Culture Geometry

Chamber Geometry

Open Well Format

  • Common formats
  • Easy handling
  • Large volume

Channel Format

  • Excellent imaging
  • Easy liquid exchange
  • Low volume

Specialized Geometry

  • Designed for specific uses (e.g., gradients or gel matrices)

µ-Slide 8-well
µ-Dish35mm, high
µ-Slide VI0.4

All-in-One Chambers

All-in-one chambers reduce the time and number of experimental steps in cell-based assays. ibidi μ-Slides, μ-Dishes and μ-Plates are designed as all-in-one chambers, so that all of the experimental steps, from cell cultivation to microscopic imaging, can be done in one chamber.

The open well format of the ibidi μ-Slide 8 Well and the μ-Dish35 mm, high allows for the use of standard immunofluorescence protocols. After staining the sample can be observed through the coverslip-like bottom, using high resolution microscopy. There is no need for an additional coverslip.

Channel formats like the μ-Slide VI 0.4 are ideal for an exact exchange of small amounts of reagents. These μ-Slides reduce the number of experimental steps needed in immunofluorescence assays. The channel format supports homogeneity of cell distribution and phase contrast microscopy.

Order a free sample to test ibidi’s µ-Slides and µ-Dishes with your experiments.

ibidi µ-Slides, µ-Dishes, and µ-Plates are Designed as All-in-One Chambers.

Compatibility of ibidi Products with Upright or Inverted Microscopes

Most ibidi products are designed for use with modern inverted microscopes, including easy cell culture models, and also high-sophisticated research microscopes.

Upright Microscope

Inverted Microscope

In cell biology, upright microscopes are used for:

  • Samples squeezed between a slide and coverslip
  • Fixed samples, such as cells and tissue sections

Not recommended for live cell imaging.

Inverted microscopes are popular for live cell imaging, because:

  • Cells sink to the bottom and onto the coverslip for adherence
  • Sample access from the top, e.g., for liquid exchange or micropipettes
  • No contact between objective and sample: sterile working conditions are  possible

Homogeneous Cell Distribution, as a Result of Geometry

Cell densities in open wells are very de­pendent on handling during cell seeding. Unlike in the open wells, cell densities in channels neither vary with the position inside the slide, nor with the handling and treatment during and after cell seeding.

To demonstrate the influence of slide geometry in cell distribution, cells were cultivated in various formats. Cell layers were visu­alized macroscopically, using crystal violet staining, and additionally by using fluorescence and phase contrast microscopy.

The macroscopic photographs (shown here) illustrate that cells cultured in open wells, such as the µ-Slide 8 Well, formed characteristic patterns. One common pattern that was found was that some of the cells congre­gated to the edges of the well. Normally, fewer cells attach to that area, while in the middle of the well the cell density will reach its maximum. In contrast, when cultured in a channel format (such as ibidi’s μ-Slide VI 0.4) the cell distri­bution was always homogeneous. These macroscopically derived results were confirmed by phase contrast and fluorescence microscopy.

Inhomogeneous cell distribution in open wells
Homogeneous cell distribution in cell culture channels

Phase Contrast in Channel Slides is Superior to Small Open Wells

Unstained samples, such as bacteria or living cell cultures, absorb practically no light. This makes them barely, or not at all, visible in brightfield, even in a well-aligned microscope. Poor light absorption results in extremely small differences in the intensity distribution in the image. In phase contrast, small phase delays that come from slightly different refractive indices in different materials are converted into intensity changes over the entire image.

A pre-condition for good phase contrast, is to use the correct Köhler illumination without any distortion or unwanted diffraction.

96 well plate or small open well:
Strong influence of meniscus, low contrast near the edges
Channel or parallel plates:
No meniscus, good phase contrast over the entire area

Phase contrast microscopy in channel slides (e.g., ibidi’s µ-Slide VI 0.4) is much better than in small open wells, especially near the edges. The diffraction, due to the meniscus, disarranges the correct alignment of the phase ring and phase plate inside the optical pathway.

In the ibidi channel slides, condensation inside the optical pathway is intrinsically impossible. The example below shows this result after the sample is removed from the incubator.