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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 design 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 be interested in the MicroStar and the IVM

  • 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", (approach uses revolutionary "smart sensor" so no need for cumbersome addtional motor).
  • Versatile
    Can be easily configured for left or right handed meaning PatchStar will be suitable now and in the future and there is no need to specify configuration on the order.

    Dovetail stage design and 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 device
    Including Control Cube, PatchPad or Joystick to suit experimental demands or user preferences.
  • Fast, simple, pipette exchange
    Utilising sliding bracket, 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 makes the PatchStar customisable for each user. Also includes 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 for these reliable manipulators.
  • Simple mounting
    Easy to attach dovetail style headstages from Molecular Devices (Axon), or rod mounted headstages or probes.



    Number of axis
    3 orthogonal and virtual 4th axis
    Travel distance
    20 mm
    Crossed roller
    (minimum) 1 µm per second

    (maximum) 4 mm per second

    Electronic resolution
    20 nm
    Memory positions
    Up to 50 on control device (unlimited via LinLab)
    LinLab for Windows


 PatchStar Micromanipulator - Top

PatchStar Micromanipulator - Side

PatchStar Micromanipulator - Top

Control CubeControl-Cube

Compact and comfortable to use, this popular wheeled design gives fingertip control and excellent functionality. It also provides fast access to a variety of functions, including activating the 'approach' axis, adjusting speed, setting and recalling memory positions and more. 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 PatchPadPatchPad

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


The PatchPad DisplayPatchPad-Display

The newest of the control options the "PatchPad Display" offers all the benefits of the PatchPad with the additional function of a display screen. View the positional information and also "zero" the display with this useful touch screen. This controller is favoured by users requiring fingertip positional information such as for in vivo injection or electrode positioning.



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


Scientifica Control Options

Find out more about the Scientifica control options

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

(Product codes are given in brackets)

PatchStar-Micromanipulator-1Shallow Bracket (PS-7500)

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






Steep Bracket (PS-7550)

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






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-4Low 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-5Dovetail Probe Holder (PH-1000)

Dove tail probe holder to fit bars/probes





PatchStar-Micromanipulator-6Fixed Sliding Probe Carriage (PS-7750)

Sliding probe holder with a fixed angle of approach





PatchStar-Micromanipulator-7Universal Rod holder (PS-7600)

PatchStar rod bracket to mount stimulation bars, or headstages with mounting bar to PatchStar. 






Electrode Holding Bar (EHB-500)

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

Shallow Bracket

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:


  • Benefit from the unique 'Follow' function which 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. 

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.

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Research Article

Read research articles where the PatchStar MicroManipulator has been used.


"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 of 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 of the University of Sheffield

 Research Papers including the PatchStar

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, 2013; 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, 2014; 03;05

Jeffries, G., Aldo, J., Alar, A., Owe, O. (2014) MICROFLUIDIC DEVICE WITH HOLDING INTERFACE, AND METHODS OF USE - patant application, rather than research. Avalance Biotech AB, 2014; 05; 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. 2014; 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, 2012; 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, 2014; 01; 08

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