The Crystal Finder package is made up of two applications (the Imager and the Classifier) that perform the automated collection and discovery of crystals and particulate in samples. The Imager performs the scan of the samples and the Classifier analyzes the images taken by the Imager and reports the results of the crystal and particulate discovery. The Imager and Classifier are described in more detail below. Please contact us for more information.
Crystal Finder – Imager is a Windows-based LabVIEW program with the ability to automate the analysis of 96 or 24 well microtiter trays on an X-Y stage.
The typical hardware configuration includes:
- 16:1 motorized zoom & focus lens with 1.5X objective
- 4 megapixel B&W 10-bit camera
- Variable angle crossed polarizers
- Programmable LED dome light
The Imager performs an automated scan of all of the wells of interest by reading the scan configuration from a XML formatted scan file. The system is designed to run unattended in a remote mode by using TCP-IP commands, but can also be run locally if desired. In auto-mode, the Imager will go to the areas of interest based on the scan file and attempt to locate drops that are in the well. Once a drop is found, the imager centers on the drop and zooms in and focuses upon the drop according to numerous adjustable parameters of the scan file. Single images or an array of “slices” are also taken of the drop according to the scan file configuration. Images are written to an output image folder and grouped by run.
Once the Imager has finished taking the images, the imager writes a “data ready” file that indicates that the folder of images are available for processing with the Classifier. The program has a graphical user interface which is designed to be intuitive to use and similar to commercial applications. The software provides prompts and guidance through the use of pop-up dialogs and tool-tip messages.
Crystal Finder – Classifier utilizes proprietary image processing algorithms to identify drops with crystals and/or precipitate.
It operates on either a single image or in automatic mode. In the automatic mode, it continually scans an input data folder for a new set of images of a well plate from the Imager. Once a new data set is available, the Classifier processes each image to find the drop border, identify optical structures (dark rings) that may influence the crystal search, and then iteratively searches for “drop content”, which may comprise precipitant or crystals. Where slices of a drop have been taken with different focal planes, the Classifier determines the slice with the highest crystal score, or if no crystals are present, returns the image with the best focus.
The Classifier outputs a text file with measured characteristics for each drop, including scores (0 to 1000) for:
- Drop quality score
- Content present score
- Crystal present score