The WOSM story

The WOSM (Warwick Open Source Microscope) is a super-stable physical platform and control interface for high and super resolution optical microscopy. Our idea was to make something as solid and as optically straightforward as possible, consistent with being able to work at or very close to the theoretical limit of optical resolution. We were also frustrated by current microscope control interfaces and wanted to take a fresh look at that as well.

Soon after we first started working on the designs, we realised that they would be useful not just to us but to lots of other people too, and we decided to make them open source.

WOSM-tirf layout

What can it do?

The high stability makes the WOSM a great platform for single molecule microscopy, including super resolution imaging of single fluorophore molecules. Our first reference design is the WOSM-TIRF. WOSM-DF( Darkfield) and WOSM-TRAP (laser tweezers) projects are in development. We have a well-developed WOSM for education, the eduWOSM. We have also made some accessible WOSM-µF (microfluidics) designs.

The source we are making available includes microscope hardware design files (CAD source, engineering drawings, 3D printer STL files), web based control electronics (schematics, gerber files, C-based source and flashable firmware binaries, HTML control source) and PC-based image aquisition software.

Who is it for?

Early adopters will need reasonable technical skills and ideally some experience in microscope dis/assembly. As we progress, we hope to reach a stage where non-specialists will be able to build their own. The microscope is designed to be versatile and easy to modify. Modification and hacking the reference designs is positively encouraged! We will also encourage contributions to source documentation from bug reports/fixes to new projects.

When can I have one?

Contact Nick Carter or Rob Cross if you are interested, we will help.


Nick Carter · Rob Cross · Douglas Martin