Microscopy Systems

Single Cell Sorting

MMI - Molecular Machines & IndustriesPhenosys

Molecular Machines & Industries (MMI) is the leading provider of microscope based micromanipulation solutions for the life sciences, material sciences, and healthcare. They specialize in single cell handling, laser microdissection and optical tweezers for a wide range of clinical and research based applications. MMI is a high value partner for our customers providing worldwide unique competence in micromanipulation and single cell handling.

Website: http://www.molecular-machines.com

Molecular Machines & Industries (MMI)

MMI CellCut - Laser Microdissection (LMD)

MMI CellCut

The ideal tool for the detection and isolation of single cells or group of cells from tissue or live cell cultures.


The MMI CellCut laser microdissection (LMD) system is designed for the quick and precise isolation of cells and tissue and so it is an essential tool for molecular pathology. A wide variety of sample types including fresh frozen, paraffin embedded, archived slides, cytospins, smears and live cells can all be used for diagnostic purposes.

The MMI CellCut enables cell selection quickly and easily directly on the touch screen. The cells of interest are marked and cut automatically using a precisely focused UV-Laser. The microdissected samples are collected for downstream analysis. This results in a pure cell population for reliable analysis and diagnosis.

The MMI CellCut is highly modular and can be mounted on numerous brands of microscope from entry level, mid range to high end, suitable for the most routine to the most complex research applications.

1. Sample preparation

The section is placed on the MMI MembraneSlide, a frame slide covered with a thin membrane that is inert and has negligible auto fluorescence. Afterwards the MMI MembraneSlide is inverted and placed onto a glass slide for protection against contamination. Now the sample is sandwiched between the membrane and the glass.

2. Easy cell selection

The cells of interest can be selected on the display using either the mouse, by freehand or predefined geometrical shapes which can be modified. Any number of cells across the slide can be identified as targets within one screening process. The stage is moving to trace the path drawn and the laser is fixed and focused from below.

3. Automated cutting

The thin laser cutting path enables a precise and gentle extraction of the selected cell at an outstanding speed. The isolated target cell is collected by lowering and lifting of the adhesive cap held from above. The sample morphology remains 100% intact.

4. Selected target

After cutting the sample can be visualised on the cap. Lysis buffer is added and the tube inverted for approx. 10 mins. The cells are now in suspension ready for downstream processing.

Features & Benefits
  • Contamination free cutting
  • Maximum sample collection
  • Contamination free collection
  • Positive sample inspection
  • The thinnest cleanest cut
  • Predefined Target Positioning (PTP)
  • Autodocumentation
  • MMI LiveCell Chamber
  • MMI MultiCap and MMI MultiSlide
  • Serial section
  • Z-drill

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Molecular Machines & Industries (MMI)

MMI CellEctor - Capillary Cell Sorting

MMI CellEctor

The MMI CellEctor is a microscope based micro capillary single cell sorting system for rapid recognition, acquisition and deposition of single or rare cells in suspension. The system is fully motorised and computer controlled. It enables the development of user controlled protocols for aspirating and depositing cells in nanoliter volumes for the isolation of single cells in a format suitable for downstream molecular analysis with nanolitre volume reaction mixtures.

The high precision of the MMI CellPump regulates the acquisition and deposition in a variety of modes, giving the user complete control in manual and automated cell recognition, acquisition and deposition. The completely software manipulated 3D CellRobot controls the precise landing position of the capillary and generates a highly reproducible contact point.

All accessories were directly developed in consultation with MMI CellEctor users to reflect their exacting needs. They allow for the deposition of single cells onto reaction slides or directly into PCR tubes, IBIDI style chambers or microfluidic devices. User defined liquid handling programmes enable the development of dedicated cleaning and service cycles for capillary cleaning and maintenance. The MMI CellEctor is highly modular and can be mounted on numerous microscope brands from entry level, mid range to high end.

1. Cell selection and recognition

Place an aliquot of the sample of cells in suspension directly onto a standard glass slide. Visualise the cells in either bright field or fluorescence. Mark the cell of interest by clicking with the mouse.

Autodetection can be achieved with the MMI CellExplorer Software designed for the auto recognition of single cells based on their colour, morphology and relative size.

2. Ultra precise cell aspiration

A glass capillary is used to aspirate the cells of interest directly. This is controlled by a high precision 3D robotic arm and ultra precise cell pump. Both can be used in full manual mode, or semi or fully automatically. More adherent cells can be collected by reversing the position of the capillary and lowering it by a few microns to allow the cells to be released by scratching and pumping simultaneously.

3. Automated cell acquistion and deposition with full visual control

Single cells in suspension can be collected manually or automatically onto a wide range of slide based platforms including IBIDI, a PCR tube, a microfluidic or other molecular analysis device. The user gets full optical control throughout the whole workflow.

4. Molecular downstream analysis

For example: FISH, IHC, ISH, immuno fluorescence, Single Cell PCR

Features & Benefits
  • Microscope based software controlled movements of the capillary
  • Easy to achieve accurate and precise cell isolation and deposition
  • No contamination from unwanted cells
  • Faster and easier than manual systems
  • Nanoliter pump allows isolation of cells in small volumes
  • Brightfield or fluorescence automated detection of cells
  • Full process control of cell identification, acquisition and deposition
  • Work manually or automatically as your workflow demands
  • Compatibility with a wide range of accessories and microfluidic devices

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Molecular Machines & Industries (MMI)

MMI CellManipulator - Optical Tweezers meets Force Spectrocopy

MMI CellManipulator


The MMI CellManipulator is a powerful optical multibeam tweezers system based on the mechanical forces arising from a strongly focused laser beam. It enables comfortable, ultra-precise and contact-free manipulation of microscopic particles, single or living cells, or subcellular organisms and the measurement of intracellular activities. Thus, it can hold, move, rotate, join, separate, stretch or otherwise manipulate up to 2 x10 microscopic objects simultaneously or separately in three dimensions. The wavelength of the laser does not interfere with the integrity of living specimens. Cell sorting and cell positioning can also be accomplished together with the quadrant detector enabling the measurement of binding forces or viscosities at sub cellular level. Due to multiple ports and dual-level laser integration, the seamless use of different modules and imaging technologies is possible.

Automated quadrant detector calibrations routines allow routine force-distance measurments, so called Force Spectroscopy.

Even a feedback module is available for isometric force detections and force clamping.

The MMI CellManipulator is highly modular and can be mounted on numerous microscope brands from entry level, mid range to high end.Please note that some products or features might be unavailable in some countries. Please contact MMI or your local distributor for availability and options in your region.

The principle of MMI CellManipulator

Optical Tweezers are capable of manipulating micrometer-sized dielectric particles, living cells, or subcellular organisms by exerting pico Newton forces via a highly focused laser beam. The beam is focused by sending it through a microscope objective. The narrowest point of the focused beam, known as the beam waist, contains a very strong light gradient. Dielectric particles are attracted along the gradient to the region of brightest light, the center of the beam. Using an infrared laser an invisible optical trap is created.

3D ray optics model is illustrating the scattering and the gradient force:

A: Scattering force: The reflection of rays produces momentum in the opposite direction, resulting in a net force along the direction of laser propagation.

B: Gradient force: When the bead or cell is not in the beam’s center, the larger momentum change of the more intense rays causes a net force that pulls the bead back towards the center of the trap.

C: Gradent force: When the bead or cell is literally centered in the beam, the net force points toward the focal point of the beam.

Features & Benefits
  • Strongest trap with > 800 pico Newton
  • Excellent longterm stability
  • One or two tweezer levels for up to 2 x 10 traps
  • Full control of laser power and focus
  • Ultra-precise positioning of each single trap
  • High modularity for a wide range of applications
  • Extremely compact laser box and controller
  • Force detection 0.2 - 800 pico Newton
  • Fully automated data acquisition and live data displays
  • Up-to-date laser safety concepts

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