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Patchstar Micromanipulator

The PatchStar Micromanipulator is an ultra-stable, super-smooth micromanipulator with extremely low electrical noise – perfect for a wide range of demanding techniques including electrophysiology and microinjection.

Ergonomically designed in collaboration with leading physiologists, the PatchStar's versatile, modular structure and responsive controls make it the manipulator of choice for many labs across the world.

"The success rate of my outside-out patch clamp recordings significantly increased to over 90% or even 100%. In addition, the PatchStar is highly-stable and very quiet. The noisy sound from our old [non-Scientifica] micromanipulator is really annoying during experiments and makes the research even more stressful."
Dr Can Peng, University Of Florida Gainsville

Patch Clamping
Slice Electrophysiology
In Vivo Electrophysiology
In Vivo Microinjection

If you are considering motorised manipulators you may also be interested in the MicroStar and the IVM.

The PatchStar is great for patch clamping and other electrophysiology techniques:

  • Ultra-stable 
    Less than 1 micron drift in 2 hours, enabling reliable long term experiments.
  • Electrically quiet
    Allowing recording of extremely small signals with no need to switch the motors off.
  • Super-smooth movement 
    20 nm resolution means absolute positioning control.
  • 4 axes of movement
    X, Y, Z and "approach" axes – approach uses a revolutionary "smart sensor" avoiding the need for a cumbersome additional motor.
  • Versatile
    Can be easily switched from left to right-handed configurations, meaning the PatchStar will be suitable now and in the future, with no need to specify your desired setup when ordering.
  • Customisable
    Dovetail stage design and a range of adapters make the PatchStar configurable to suit almost any application from slice electrophysiology to in vivo microinjection.
  • Small footprint
    Compact footprint enables several PatchStars to be positioned around a sample.
  • Wide choice of control devices
    Use the Control Cube, PatchPad, PatchPad Display or Joystick, whichever best suits the experimental demands or user preferences.
  • Fast, simple, pipette exchange
    Utilising a sliding bracket and rotational stages as well as electronic memory positions so more time can be spent acquiring valuable data.
  • Speed control
    User definable speed settings meaning the PatchStar can be customised for each user.
  • Software control
    Includes LinLab software which provides positional information and user defined PatchStar customisation. Also includes the revolutionary "Follow" function linking manipulators to movement of the microscope.
  • Programmable
    Can easily be controlled via users own software for ultimate flexibility - just ask for the detailed command set.
  • Long warranty
    2 year warranty for added peace of mind when you purchase these reliable manipulators.
  • Simple mounting
    It is easy to attach dovetail style headstages from Molecular Devices (Axon), or rod mounted headstages or probes.



Number of axes

3 orthogonal and virtual 4th axis 

Travel distance 

20 mm 


Crossed roller 



1 µm per second (minimum)

4 mm per second (maximum)

Electronic resolution

20 nm 

Memory positions 

Up to 50 on control device (unlimited via LinLab)


LinLab for Windows 


PatchStar Micromanipulator - Side

PatchStar Micromanipulator - Top


Control Cube

Compact and comfortable to use, this popular wheeled design gives fingertip control and excellent functionality. The three wheels, each corresponding to an axis of movement, can be converted by the user between left and right-handed use and customised to their preferences. The Control Cube also provides fast access to a variety of other functions, including activating the 'approach' axis, adjusting speed and setting and recalling memory positions.





The flat panel PatchPad offers another choice for controlling the system depending on user preference - each axis of movement is allocated a wheel on the panel and provides the same functionality as the Control Cube. It provides fast access to a variety of functions, including activating the 'approach' axis, adjusting speed, setting and recalling memory positions and additional continuous movement buttons.




PatchPad Display

The newest of the control options, the PatchPad Display offers all the benefits of the PatchPad with the additional function of a screen. View the positional information and also ‘zero’ the display with the touch screen interface. This controller is favoured by users requiring fingertip positional information (e.g. during in vivo injection or electrode positioning).





The Joystick's ergonomic design offers intuitive directional control in three axes. With movement speed proportional to the amount of deflection applied, a speed change button also enables the user to customise their device to their exact requirements.



Scientifica Control Options

Find out more about the Scientifica control options

A wide range of accessories are available to adapt the PatchStar to your specific requirements:

(Product codes are given in brackets)

Shallow Bracket (PS-7500)

To allow low, shallow angle positioning of headstage (recommended if mounting on SlicePlatform, MTP or MMTP).PatchStar-Micromanipulator-1-lite

Steep Bracket (PS-7550)

Steep bracket to allow steep angles or additional height reach for headstage or probe (recommended if mounting on MMBP).PatchStar-Micromanipulator-2

Flip up bracket (PS-7700)

Flip up vertical pipette exchange bracket. Mounts to patchStar to allow vertical flip of probe. Convenient where space is limited.PatchStar-Micromanipulator-3

Low Profile L Bracket (PS-7800)

Allow position of Z axis module to be changed, lowering the height of the PatchStar for rig with height restrictions.PatchStar-Micromanipulator-4-lite

Dovetail Probe Holder (PH-1000)

Dove tail probe holder to fit bars/probes


Fixed Sliding Probe Carriage (PS-7750)

Sliding probe holder with a fixed angle of approach


Universal Rod Holder (PS-7600)

PatchStar rod bracket to mount stimulation bars, or headstages with mounting bar to PatchStar. PatchStar-Micromanipulator-7-lite

Electrode Holding Bar (EHB-500)

Electrode/probe holding bar with v groove which can also be used with the LBM-7 manipulator and IVM.


Magnetic Base for PatchStar (S-MB-3020-00)

Low-profile magnetic base to attach your MicroStar to your antivibration table or other platform

PatchStar Magnetic Base

LinLab is a versatile software designed to give you complete control over your device. You may choose not to use LinLab at all, but if you do, it offers some incredible benefits:

LinLab 2 Interface

  • The unique 'Follow' function makes patching easier and faster. See video below.

  • Visualise positional information providing coordinates and measurements.

  • Set and label numerous memory positions, then return to them at the click of a mouse, making it easy to return to points of interest in any axis.

  • Customise speed settings to suit your application and sample.

  • Configure your control device to suit your personal preferences – Do you prefer clockwise to move the device up or down? You can easily set this in LinLab.

  • Control up to 12 individual Scientifica devices from one piece of software; PatchStar, MicroStar, SliceScope, heater, perfusion system and motorised stages making it easy to integrate your complete electrophysiology and imaging system.

  • For more information go to the LinLab product page.

Follow Function

The unique 'Follow' function is an excellent example of how motorised devices can be integrated together allowing the user to virtually link manipulators and stages to keep pipettes in the field of view, whilst searching for areas of interest. This overcomes the common problem of searching a large sample for an area of interest then having to bring pipettes into the field of view.

Once a cell of interest has been located, the recording, or stimulating electrode, can be simply "released" from follow control and the cell approached as normal.


The PatchStar: our customers journey - an eight-year montage!


Top Research Articles:

Read more about research using the PatchStar Micromanipulator.


"The success rate of my outside-out patch clamp recordings significantly increased to over 90% or even 100%. In addition, the PatchStar micromanipulator is highly-stable and very quiet. The noisy sound from our old [non-Scientifica] micromanipulator is really annoying during experiments and makes the research even more stressful"
Dr Can Peng, University Of Florida Gainsville
"We have bought [from Scientifica] a complete setup dedicated to dendritic patch clamp recordings. As we are recording from thin distal dendrites (micron range), stability is critical. We were naturally going to buy the usual set of nec-plus-ultra manipulators. But we decided to test the PatchStar from Scientifica. We were genuinely impressed with its extreme stability. We ran tests under high flow rate (10 ml/min), and after 1 hour the pipette had not moved in a detectable manner. We decided to take the risk and be unfaithful to what we considered were the gold standard of manipulators. The PatchStar is the new standard. After 6-months of use, we are still truly impressed by the stability. Once a stable series resistance is set, at the start of recording sessions, we are able to perform long duration dendritic recordings"
Dr Christophe Bernard, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille
"As one can imagine changing equipment, which may result in increased electrical noise, is treated with extreme caution! To this end we have previously used hydraulic micromanipulators to manoeuvre patch pipettes since we have believed these will minimise noise.However we recently tested the PatchStar Motorised Micromanipulator system from Scientifica, which is proposed to provide negligible drift and precise pipette control. We were pleased and somewhat amazed that using this system did not increase our noise levels and SOCs with an unitary amplitude of 0.1 pA were regularly recorded, which was in line with Scientifica's claim that the PatchStar is electrically silent. We are now in the process of changing all our pipette manipulator systems over to the PatchStar and I can see it being our micromanipulator of choice for the foreseeable future. Our laboratory is involved in recording cation conductances at the single channel level from native vascular smooth muscle cells using established patch clamp techniques.One type of cation channel we record is defined as a store operated channel (SOC) since it is activated by agents which are known to deplete intracellular Ca2+ stores. There are only a handful of groups who have recorded SOCs at the single channel level because these channels have a low unitary conductance of between 2- 5 pS with small unitary amplitudes of between 0.1- 0.2 pA and therefore obtaining the correct signal-to-noise ratio to measure these channel currents is very difficult."
Dr Anthony Albert of St Georges Hospital
"We are long-time users of PatchStar micromanipulators for in vitro electrophysiology. We study ionotropic GABA and glutamate receptors and make conventional patch clamp recordings from neurons and glia in acute brain slices or in dissociated cultures, as well as recordings from transfected HEK cells. We use whole-cell, cell-attached and outside-out configurations – the latter often combined with ultrafast agonist application. In each case, successful patching demands smooth controllable motion and rock-solid stability.Over the years we have used a variety of manual, hydraulic, motorized and piezoelectric manipulators for our work. Since purchasing our first pair of PatchStar manipulators we have not looked back. The manipulators provide outstanding mechanical performance with intuitive and reproducible control. For high-resolution macroscopic recordings and single-channel studies the complete absence of any added electrical noise is the icing on the cake.Although the micromanipulators are arguably the star of the show, we use these in conjunction with Scientifica motorised stages and microscope top plates, which exhibit the same excellent mechanical and electrical characteristics. We have also recently begun to use a SliceScope with Multiphoton Detection Unit for two-photon laser scanning microscopy. In supporting their products Scientifica have proven to be an unfailingly reliable, flexible and friendly company to work with."
Julien Dupuis of University College London
"My research is currently focused on studying the role of ion channels in the normal development of the inner hair cells (IHCs) of the mammalian cochlea (organ of Corti) and how these channels influence the perception of sound in adult animals. IHCs, which are the primary sensory receptors of the cochlea, are responsible for signalling the reception of sound to the central nervous system. Current and voltage responses from developing IHCs are investigated using the patch-clamp technique.To obtain stable recordings from the acutely isolated organ of Corti we looked for reliable manipulators to hold various pipettes that are simultaneously used during an experiment. After testing a few manipulators, including mechanical ones, at the beginning of 2006 we purchased three PatchStar micromanipulators from Scientifica, UK.These micromanipulators have proven to be very stable and reliable. We did not detect any appreciable drift in the position of the Patch pipette (using a X63 objective) during electrophysiological recordings up to 40 min, the longest time tested. Moreover, this manipulator is extremely versatile with the ability to move in XYZ in addition to the virtual approach axis and to incorporate into any electrophysiological set-up."
Dr Walter Marcotti, The University of Sheffield
"We have a very sophisticated project where high precision micromanipulation had to be performed in a pure argon environment controlled remotely with a joystick. Two Patchstar micromanipulators are currently installed in a sealed argon chamber with the electrical connections to the controller arranged using a standard vacuum feedthrough fitted in the chamber wall. We selected Patchstar micromanipulators for the combination of high precision, stability and competitive price. After several month of using them in Argon environment we observed excellent performance and no difference compared with the standard air installation."
Dr Roman Gorbachev, The University of Manchester

Research Papers including the PatchStar

Bernard C., Esclapez M., Baram T., Migliore M., Chetkovich D., McClelland S., Becker A., Lewis A., Chen Y., Liu, Z. Marcelin B. (2012) Dorsoventral Differences in Intrinsic Properties in Developing CA1 Pyramidal Cells The Journal of Neuroscience, 03;14

Brickley S., Houston C., McGee, T., Ye, Z. (2013) The contribution of delta subunit-containing GABAA receptors to phasic and tonic conductance changes in cerebellum, thalamus and neocortex Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 12;23

Edwards, I., Lall, V., Paton J., Yanagawa Y., Szabo G., Deuchars S., Deuchars J. (2014) Neck muscle afferents influence oromotor and cardiorespiratory brainstem neural circuits Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 03;05

Jeffries G., Aldo J., Alar A., Owe O. (2014) Microfluidic device with holding interface, and methods of use Avalance Biotech AB, 05;29

Langmead C. et al (2008) Characterization of a CNS penetrant, selective M1 muscarinic receptor agonist British Pharmacological Society, 01;29

Ma B., Xu G., Wang W., Enyeart J., Zhou M. Dual patch voltage clamp study of low membrane resistance astrocytes in situ Molecular Brain, 7;18

Peterson P., Kalda M., Vendelin M. (2012) Real-time determination of sarcomere length of a single cardiomyocyte during contraction American Journal of Physiology Society, 12;19

Roberts A., Conte D., Hull M., Merrison-Hort R., Kalamal al Azad A., Buhl E., Borisyuk R., Soffe, S. (2014) Can Simple Rules Control Development of a Pioneer Vertebrate Neuronal Network Generating Behavior? The Journal of Neuroscience, 01;08


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