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Optical Filter Changer – Lambda 10-2

The Lambda 10-2 is the perfect choice for researchers whose applications are intolerant of electrical noise.

The controller’s low-noise linear electronics assure that only DC voltages are present on the motor windings when the wheels do not move.

This new optical filter changer has the potential to independently operate up to two filter wheels and two Uniblitz® shutters. The smooth, reliable operation of the Lambda 10-2 has made it ideal for research applications involving visual physiology, spectrophotometry, ratio imaging, and fluorescence microscopy.

The controller electronics are designed around three embedded chips: one slave for each wheel and a master for communication and control.

The Lambda 10-2 system is capable of holding up to 10 optical filters (25 mm in diameter and up to 9 mm thick) which are effortlessly loaded through an access port on the housing. Extra filters (e.g. heat and/or neutral density filters) can be manually inserted at two other locations in the optical path.

The optical ports present on both sides of the unit are internally threaded as C-mounts (32 threads per inch). The center of the optical port can be positioned from 11 cm to 53 cm above the mounting surface when mounted in an upright position.

Slide-in filter holders are available optionally for inverted configurations. It is possible to add a second wheel to the system without the need for additional electronic or mechanical changes.

Eight user selectable speeds are provided. Filter to adjacent filter time can be set from 55 to 1200 msec, based on the weight and the number of the filters mounted in the wheel. The optional shutter is opened in 10 msec by integral shutter drivers.

The use of a direct drive stepper-motor with improved microstepping technology and intelligent deceleration/acceleration algorithms assures the fastest possible moves for a given inertial load, while minimizing vibrations.

The Lambda 10-2 comprises of a 10-position filter wheel, a support base and mounting rods, a rack mountable controller, two drop-in filter holders, parallel and serial interface cables, a controller/filter wheel interface cable, manual, and spanner wrench. Microscope adapters for most Zeiss, Olympus, Nikon, and Leica scopes can be purchased separately.

Applications that absolute vibration isolation, and/or spatial uniform spatial illumination can use an optional liquid light guide output. The two meter long guide mounts directly onto the wheel’s output port. Transmission through the guide is better than 70% from 375 nm to 575 nm. Adapters to connect the light guide to the microscope port are available as an option.

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OEM Wheels

For OEM applications, the Lambda 10-2 has the potential to be readily modified to meet specific requirements of users.

An economical solution is provided to the OEM design specification by utilizing the 10-2 controller to drive customized wheels. Till date, Sutter Instrument has made custom 2,3,4,5,10 and 12 position wheels and designed for 50 mm, 32 mm and 25 mm filters.

Getting Faster Filter Switching Times with Installation of Several Filters

The Sutter filter wheel systems have always been optimized for rapid switching of a lightly loaded wheel. The added mass requires an increase in the time needed to switch from one filter to another when several thick filters are installed.

Switching times advance significantly with filters developed on a thin substrate that do not need a thick layer of extra glass to obtain the desired blocking. Semrock® has the required coating technology to provide filters with substrates down to 2 mm in thickness.

Sutter Instrument has taken the additional step of designing a special threaded ring that Semrock can install in place of their typical plain filter cells. Filters mounted in these rings can be threaded directly into the body of Sutter Instrument’s filter wheels when the company’s standard filter cups have been removed.

Semrock filters weigh less than the filter cup and retaining ring generally used to mount filters in the Sutter wheels. The removal of Sutter Instrument’s filter cups and mounting the new threaded filters directly in the wheel will result in a fully loaded wheel being capable of running at speeds that earlier could only be used with just two filters installed.

Semrock is currently ready to offer filters for Sutter Instrument’s 25 mm filter wheels with 32 mm filters available shortly. Installing these filters in a Sutter wheel that has filter cups will require removal of the cup from the position the user intends to use for mounting the threaded filter. The new wrench can be used when installing the new threaded filters as it has been designed for this purpose.

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Key Features

  • Linear power supply
  • Dual integral shutter drivers
  • Serial and parallel interfaces
  • 55 msec between adjacent filters
  • Simultaneous control of up to two shutters and two wheels


  • Liquid light guide
  • Table-top controller box
  • Additional wheel
  • Slide-in filter holders
  • Built-in shutter
  • Microscope mounting adaptors
  • Dual wheels mounted in series

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