I was going to hold off on this since its a bit premature, but since Hyna wanted some details on what I was hoping to do for a probing station here is some quick info.
Since this is still just a part time hobby for me, I didn't want to spend too much on a probe station and waited patiently (course of a year or two of saved eBay searches...). I picked up several micropositioners for pretty good deal but had a much harder time finding a halfway decent probe station inexpensively. My goal was:
-Under $500, especially if it didn't have a microscope
-Have XY axis
-Have a solid platform for mounting probes
-Either have a microscope or not be too much trouble to add one
With that in mind, I eventually found this
Which was decently within budget and even had a Nikon microscope of sorts. The base is pretty solid which was the main thing I was after. The plugs (not visible) happily fit my micropositioners.
Unfortunately, the microscope is not in the best condition and not made with high quality components. However, there is a lot of mounting support and so I kept my eyes peeled on eBay for something I could replace it with. I was looking for something like a Nikon Optiphot since I knew a few people use that with good results. Eventually I found this:
the core of an Olympus BHMJ which seemed like a good match since you can mount it with a boom stand like on mine. It seems well cared for and in good condition. Before purchasing I did some measurements on my station and cross referenced some Olympus documents and was under the impression that the post was even the same diameter. Unfortunately, this turns out not to be the case, but I have access to lathes and so can make a new post without too trouble if I allocate some time for that. This is more of an industrial class microscope that I can buy numerous accessories and high quality optics for as I want to upgrade. I need to take a picture for comparison, but these are 25 mm compared to the standard ~20 mm thread RMS objectives most microscopes use.
You may have also noticed that the microscope didn't include an illuminator. However, I have one in the mail and should soon be able to do a test drive. The Nikon parts are not compatible, but the Nikon lamp setup was pretty bad anyway.
I also might want to switch out the stages for something more accurate. I use to play with lasers and so have a pile of optical quality micropositioners. On that note, you may have noticed the odd orange cord wrapped around the microscope. For some reason the camera port is loaded with a colminator with an FC fiber port + fiber. The exposed end of the fiber is in poor shape, but fiber is relatively inexpensive if I want another. I am not entirely sure what purpose it served though. I asked someone in the photonics business and he mentioned he'd used similar equipment for testing at his facility. I have some YAG lasers...maybe could be retrofitted for microsurgery?
I may look into getting a trinocular head to mount a camera. In the short term though I can put my camera in the eyepiece.
I also decapsulated a chip with some RFNA the other day with good results. For a sneak peak see https://picasaweb.google.com/JohnDMcMaster/First_rfna_decap?authuser=0&feat=directlink but otherwise I'll wait until I can try a second chip and do a more careful job (although the first chip did work, shown below "blinking" although all you can see is a solid on LED)
Edit: some more sneak peak https://picasaweb.google.com/JohnDMcMaster/Ic_live_analysis_08142011?authuser=0&feat=directlink