Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stamps and Microscopes

A stereo microscope can be helpful when viewing details on stamps. The most useful magnifications for stamp collectors are generally 10x -30x magnification. Our favorite microscope for viewing stamps is the National Optical 460TBL stereo zoom microscope.

Captured at 20x magnification with the MC2000 camera.

Captured with close to 30x magnification, this stamp has "New York" printed across it. On the lower left corner you can see the letters "YO" from "York".

Monday, August 24, 2009


Microscope cameras generally capture reflective items such as copper differently. There are two types of chips inside microscope cameras - the CCD chip and the CMOS chip. A CCD (charged coupled device) chip generally produces higher quality images in low-light conditions and is better for publication quality images. Cameras with CCD chips generally cost a bit more than those with CMOS chips. A CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) chip is often used for routine documentation.

This copper image was captured with the Meiji EMZ-5TR stereo microscope and the Moticam MC2000 CMOS 2 mega pixel camera.

This is the exact same configuration, but using the MW5-CCD microscope camera.

A different piece of copper captured with the MW5-CCD microscope camera.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Carbon Fiber under Microscope

This is an image of carbon fiber under the microscope. This image was captured using the Jenoptik PRC5 microscope camera.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Microscope Eyepiece Reticles

A microscope eyepiece reticle (or reticule) is a small piece of glass with a ruler printed on it that is placed in the eyepiece. When looking through the microscope, the specimen can be easily measured, as the ruler is imposed on the image.

There are many different types of microscope eyepiece reticles. Standard reticles include cross lines, grids and rulers.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Plastic Film Under Microscope

We recently used the Meiji EMZ-5TR stereo microscope to view some thin plastic film. The customer was interested in viewing the fibers within the plastic film. (These are the pieces that appear to look like amoebas in the photo below.

Images were captured at 40x magnification using the Moticam MC2300 camera.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Macro Zoom Lens

These images were captured using a macro zoom lens and a Motic MC2300 microscope camera. This particular customer wanted to view and measure the thickness of the coating they were placing on wood panels.

The macro zoom lens is unique in that it uses no eyepieces and provides a higher magnification, more working distance, and is less expensive than a metallurgical microscope.

This is Meiji short unimac macro zoom lens. It can be configured on many different types of stands or with a variety of illuminators. The camera mounts directly to the top with c-mount threads. The images are viewed directly on the monitor rather than through eyepieces.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Smaller Than The Eye Can See

For a fun home project this summer try finding some Vorticella to view under your microscope. You will want to collect some water from a fresh-water pond or stream. Generally the Vorticella will remain in clusters, so look for groups of swimming Vorticella. You will be able to view Vorticella best at 400x magnification. A microscope such as the child microscope 109L would work well.

Use a small eye dropper to place a droplet of pond water on a depression slide, then cover it with a cover slip. Have children draw what they see through the microscope. An entire workbook covering Protozoa with projects for kids can be found here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Stereo Microscopes

Stereo microscopes generally have two different light paths, which allows you to view your image in 3-D. A stereo microscope also has high depth perception, but lower magnification. The most common uses for a stereo microscope are dissecting, viewing insects, plant-life or any other object you might hold in the palm of your hand, but wish to see more fine details on your specimen.

More advanced stereo microscopes will have a light built into the microscope as well as zoom magnification. Zoom magnification allows you to see all magnifications between, say 10x - 40x. A turret stereo microscope will have fixed magnification such as 10x and 30x only.

National Optical 446TBL turret stereo microscope

A very basic stereo microscope might only have a single magnification (such as 20x). This type of microscope is great for anyone who knows they only need one magnification and will not need to zoom in on specimens.