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FTA188 Contact Angle and Surface Tension Analyzer

Instrument Chassis

The FTA188 uses a classical horizontal optical bench design. A precision microscope provides a 6mm horizontal field of view. A rack-and-pinion stage focuses the microscope. The microscope and camera ride on a unique pivoting stage that quickly and easily sets the viewing angle anywhere from horizontal to 6 degrees look-down. This is useful for looking across large samples.


An array of very bright LEDs provide backlighting with high uniformity across the field of view.

Sample positioning is afforded by an X-Y-Z rack-and-pinion stage. Samples on this stage can be up to 150mm across and 25mm thick. The mechanical design leaves the entire right side of the instrument open. This allows very large samples to be handled with optional stages and it provides unparalled access to the measurement region. The operator can always clearly see the drop.


Liquid dispense is provided by Gilmont manually operated micrometer syringes. This syringe snaps into place on a rack-and-pinion Z stage to set the exact height of the dispense tip and to touch off sessile drops for contact angle analysis. Holders are provided for two spare syringes so the user can have pre-loaded liquids for a full three-liquid Lewis acid/base analysis. The micrometer syringe provides precise dispense volumes to a practical resolution of 1ul.

All sample stage, chamber, and pumping accessories of the FTA200 can be fitted to the FTA188. The one capability excluded is the zoom microscope of the FTA200. A special adaptor mounts to the FTA188 vertical surface plate to mount FTA200 chambers and pumps. Specimen stages directly bolt to the baseplate as the hole patterns are the same.



Automatic contact angle and surface tension analysis is provided by the software which can run on any Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP computer. All analysis capabilities of the Fta32 Video software package are available, including graphing, data export, and surface energy calculations.

Either static snap shots or dynamic movies can be captured and analyzed. An image analysis based software trigger starts movies upon sessile drop touch off. The user sets the image capture rate, which can be up to 60 independent images per second. Movies may be indefinitely long.



The following options are installable by the user and can be easily added at any time:

  • extra dispense syringes

  • contact angle reference standard

  • x2 adaptor lens for 3mm field of view

  • USB camera for laptop operation and/or color imaging

  • cuvette holder

  • micrometer driven sample stage

The following options require additional wiring and must be upgraded at the factory, but can also be added at any time:

  • XYZ motor driven specimen stages

  • autofocus for microscope

  • motor driven syringe dispense pump

  • peristaltic dispense pump

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