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July 2006

 
The New F1 Series
This month ramé-hart instrument co. is pleased to announce the introduction of our new F1 Series. This series consists of Models 200-F1, 250-F1, 300-F1, and 500-F1 which replace current Models 200-00, 250-00, 300-00, and 500-00.

The F1 models are identical to their predecessors in all ways except one: the video subsystem has been upgraded from analog to digital.

For over a decade, since we first introduced our first Windows-based software program to automate the measurement of contact angles, we have used a proprietary frame grabber which captures images from an analog CCD camera and then passes this image to our software application for analysis. This technology has served us well and was state-of-the-art.

Due to advances in digital imaging technology and the demands of our customers, we are now for the first time able to offer digital imaging on all of our camera-based systems. (Our Model 120, introduced in September 2005, has had a digital camera since its inception.) We have spent two years making this migration and have rejected (7) different digital sensor designs in the process. Additionally, we've made significant changes to our DROPimage software (now V2.0) which allow it to communicate with the FireWire interface.

The F1 Series features a IEEE 1394a CCD digital camera. The CCD image sensor has a resolution of 330,000 pixels with a maximum frame rate of 86fps at a transfer rate of 400Mbps. Due to limitations of DirectX, however, we are able to achieve speeds of 60fps with our DROPimage software.

Here are a half dozen advantages to the new F1 Series:

1. Speed. The maximum speed of our analog cameras has been 30fps. We are now able to capture at twice that speed – 60fps. This is particularly important when performing dynamic and advancing/receding studies using our DROPimage Advanced software with video replay.

2. Interface. The IEEE 1394a FireWire interface is industry-standard and available on most notebooks. This allows our users to run any version of DROPimage v2.0 on either a desktop or notebook (equipped with a FireWire interface). Our previous systems required a proprietary PCI frame grabber card and thus could not be run from a notebook.

3. Cost. The new digital sensor is more costly than the legacy CCD camera however, due to the lower costs of the FireWire interface compared with the more costly analog frame grabber, we are able to offer all F1 Series models at the same or slightly lower price as their analog predecessors.

4. Power. The digital camera is bus powered and thus eliminates the need for a separate power source for the camera and the associated cabling - traditionally tapped from the PC power supply. Notebooks that have a 4-pin connector, however, will require auxiliary power. This can be added direct to the camera or through a PC Card or powered hub.

5. Image Quality and Control. In order to achieve maximum accuracy, our DROPimage software requires a quality image. Due to the increase in spectral sensitivity, a higher transfer rate, pixel binning, an improved S/N ratio, and a wider data path, we have added a new level of improvement and control over our image quality. 

6. Flexibility. The digital interface will allow us to accommodate even faster and higher resolution sensors as they come to market - allowing us to introduce faster and more capable instruments as new technology evolves. 

In addition to the F1 series models, we have changed our imaging upgrade kit - which allows users of our legacy Model 100 to upgrade to a camera-based system - to include our new digital interface. We've also added a new upgrade kit for those with legacy analog system (e.g., with RHI software) to upgrade to a digital subsystem.

During this transition we are fully committed to supporting our existing v1.x DROPimage users and will continue to provide software and technical support for analog systems for years to come.

If you would like a quotation, a copy of our new product matrix, or a PDF brochure for a particular F1 Series model, please contact us.

 
Contact Angle Symposium
In June we attended the Fifth International Symposium on Contact Angle Wettability and Adhesion in Toronto - both as a sponsor as well as attendee. We commend Dr. Mittal and Dr. Lacombe on their excellent program and it was nice to meet so many existing and prospective customers.

In three days over 50 papers were presented - each dealing with some aspect of contact angle science - including: wettability, measurement methods, superhydrophobicity, surface free energy, bioadhesion, cleanability, and surface properties. MST Conferences is expected to have a compilation of these papers published in book form. We will let you know - in a future newsletter - when this becomes available and how to obtain a copy.

In the meantime, I'd like to highlight some details from my favorite presentation. Dr. Mika M. Kohonen of the Department of Applied Mathematics in the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering at the Australian National University presented a paper titled The Effects of Wall Sculpturing, Sap Solutes, and Drying on the Wettability of Tree Capillaries. In his highly informative presentation, Dr. Kohonen presented information relative to the amazing ability of various species of trees - in this case the Australian Cypress - to transport water through a system of capillaries from the root system to the upper branches and leaves - against the forces of gravity.


Australian Cypress Pine Tree

More specifically, Dr. Kohonen focused on characterizing the inside walls of these capillaries (tracheids and vessels). By understanding the wettability of these surfaces, wood technologists can better characterize the wood as a material. More importantly, however, Dr. Kohonen discussed how analyzing the microscopic images of bubbles formed in the tracheids of rewetted wood samples can help illustrate how the roughness of the walls can increase the wettability of the lumen walls. In his own words, "[This] provides an appealing answer to the long-standing debate on the function of wall sculpturing in xylem conduits, and which may provide clues for the biomimetic engineering of the wettability of microfluid channels." We look forward to studying the complete paper when it becomes available.

 

Enjoy your summer and thank you for your continued business.

 

Regards,

Carl Clegg
Director of Sales
Phone 973-448-0305
www.ramehart.com
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