- Remote start cable for Nicolet (around $300-400 including shipping, depending on your location)
- National Instruments USB6501 Digital I/O device (around $160 depending on your location, shown below)
- Heka 3xx series potentiostat/galvanostat
- Nicolet 8700/6700 FTIR, image shown below
Why would anyone need such a communication between these devices?
Because, during spectroscopic analysis (done by FTIR) you may need to apply certain voltage patterns to your sample using the potentiostat. Of course you can do this manually as well, however an automated routine would be much faster.
How is it done?
There is an auxillary input port at the back of Nicolet 6700/8700 FTIRs. First you need to connect your remote start cable to this port and the BNC type end would go into whatever device you are using for triggering. In my case the HEKA PG310 potentiostat has DA(digital to analog) outputs in the front panel as seen below;
The four BNC type connections on the upper left hand side are DA trigger out connections which are capable of sending +5V trigger signals. The timing of the triggering can be adjusted in a Pulse Generator File created in PotMaster as described in this video in more detail. This ensures you can trigger the FTIR using PotMaster.
What is missing?
Okay, now we programmed potential patterns for each scan that is going to be run by FTIR in HEKA's Pulse Generator File (PGF). However we do not want HEKA to switch to another pattern before FTIR is ready for the next scan. So, we need to trigger HEKA between each sweep programmed in the PGF file.
So, what is next?
Next part is a little trickier, because Nicolet does not have a trigger out port (it only has an auxillary port working as a trigger-in, it can be remotely started by cannot be used to trigger another device). Thus in order to trigger the HEKA, we need the USB6501 Digital I/O device. You can install the software package come with device and write a Matlab routine to control it or just modified the one already submitted to file exchange of Matlab Central website in here. What you probably already have (to control the FTIR) is a OMNIC Macro Basic/Pro macro file which saves the background and raw spectra files in a folder every time a scan is made. In your matlab routine you can check if a new raw data is created to confirm that the FTIR scan is finished. Then you can send out a trigger signal using USB6501 to trigger HEKA for the next potential pattern.