Monday, April 30, 2012

Microscope Cameras and Resolution

Selecting the correct resolution for your microscope camera can sometimes be a difficult task. Generally a lower resolution image will look decent on a computer monitor. But if you try to print out a low resolution image and make it too large, it turns out pixelated.

Here are some examples of microscope camera resolutions and the images you can print (at a high quality 300dpi) from each.
Depending on the size of the image you wish to print (at a good quality), choose your microscope camera above accordingly. If printing images is not a concern, a lower resolution camera should work well for viewing on screen images.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Diatoms are a major group of algae, and one of the most common forms of phytoplankton. Diatoms have only one cell although they do sometimes exist in colonies. Diatoms are encased within a unique cell wall made of silica (hydrated silicon dioxide) called a frustule.These frustules typically consist of two asymmetrical sides with a split between them.

Image of diatoms captured with the Meiji MT5300 biological laboratory microscope.

Evidence found in fossils suggests that they originated during or possibly before the early Jurassic Period. Diatom communities are often a popular tool for monitoring environmental conditions and are often used to study water quality.

Living diatoms are often found clinging to filamentous algae. Diatoms can be found in the form of a brown, slippery coating on submerged stones or twigs in a river. Additionally, the surface mud of a pond, ditch or lagoon will almost always have some diatoms in it. You can capture some by filling a jar with water and mud, wrapping it in black paper and letting direct sunlight fall on the surface of the water. Within a day, the diatoms will come to the top in a scum form and can be isolated. Then you can use either a biological lab microscope or even a student microscope to view the diatoms.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Textiles under Microscope

Microscope World was recently contacted by a manufacturer of a sophisticated textile fabric that is meant to wick moisture. This manufacturer needed to view both cross sections and full pieces of their sample fibers.

The microscope setup included the MT7200 reflected light metallurgical microscope. This microscope has high magnification of 50x, 100x, 200x and 500x, but still allows light to shine down through the objective lens, making it possible to view solid objects that do not allow light to pass through them.

Horizontal capture of a single textile fiber.

Cross section of a bunch of fibers.

Images were captured with a microscope camera and the included software. The USB microscope cameras allow you to view a live image on your computer directly from the microscope. These images can be captured and saved either before or after text is added to document them. The software can be calibrated with the microscope in order to perform accurate measurements.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Relay Device Under Microscope

Microscope World has a customer who manufactures relay devices. A relay is a device that takes a smaller source of electrical power and uses it to manually control a larger source of electrical power. Typically, a low voltage or low current source, which is more easily manageable with control circuits, sends a signal to energize an electromagnetic coil. When the coil is activated, the magnetic field moves a plunger type device which has contacts that serve as a switch for the larger voltage or current device. In essence, the contacts complete the path for the circuit and allows a load to begin to operate using the higher voltage or current that is supplied through the contacts' connections.

This customer needed to view their relay devices during the manufacturing process to look for defects or flaws.

Relay captured at 30x magnification.

Because the relay device is not microscopically small, a stereo microscope system was created for this customer. The system created included the following:

Meiji EMZ-8TR stereo zoom microscope on a lighted post stand using the DCM3 microscope camera and software. The software allows the end user to make measurements and label the image before saving it to a file for reference.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Amoeba Under Microscope

Amoeba are shapeless (they look like a big blob) unicellular organisms from the genus Protozoa.

Image of amoeba captured with the digital BA210 microscope at 100x magnification.

Image courtesy Pearson Scott Foresman.

An amoeba's cell's organelles and cytoplasm are enclosed by the membrane. Ameoba have one pseudopod used for navigation and movement. Each amoeba has one or more nuclei and a simple contractile vacuole to maintain osmotic equilibrium. Food enveloped by the amoeba is stored and digested in vacuoles.
Image of amoeba captured at 400x with a biological student microscope.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Biology Laboratory Microscope

Biological microscopes used for routine laboratory work, require high quality, durable brightfield objectives. The Meiji Techno MT4200 series microscope come equipped with Plan achromat infinity corrected optics that meet the quality standards of laboratories worldwide.

This stained biology sample was captured using the DK3000 3 mega pixel camera and the MT4300 laboratory microscope.

For a laboratory microscope, the most common objectives are Plan achromat, Phase contrast and Apochromat lenses. You can learn more about different types of objective lenses here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wasp Eye under Microscope

Insects are best viewed using a stereo microscope. Low magnification of 10x-40x is typically ideal for insects, flowers, or anything you might hold in the palm of your hand, but wish to view in more detail.

Parasitic wasps are used increasingly in agriculture for insect and pest control since they tend to prey mostly on pest insects and have little if any impact on crops.

There are actually two types of wasps: solitary wasps and social wasps. Much like their name suggests, adult solitary wasps live and operate alone, and most do not construct nests; all adult solitary wasps are fertile. By contrast, social wasps exist in colonies numbering up to several thousand individuals and build nests, but in some cases not all of the colony can reproduce. In some species, just the wasp queen and male wasps can mate, while the majority of the colony is made up of sterile female workers.

 Image of a wasp eye captured at 40x magnification.

Most wasps have two pairs of wings, and the majority of wasps play no role in pollination. The exception being figs, which are pollinated by fig wasps.

Learn more about wasps here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

ASTM E112 Grain Counting

Industries that must meet specific grain sizing procedures such as ASTM E112 often use microscope eyepiece grain counting reticles. Test Method E 112 is one of the most widely cited ASTM standards. This method deals with the measurement of grain size when the grains are not deformed in shape, although it does contain some information about measurement of grain size when the grains have been elongated by processing.

Grain counting reticles fit inside the eyepiece of a microscope and will impose an image such as this one over the grain particles, making it easy to compare particle size and perform a count.

Learn more about the uses of grain counting reticles and the options available for purchase here.

Complete ASTM E112 Standard test methods can be found here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hair Under the Microscope

Microscope World has been working with a customer who creates hair extensions from human hair. This customer needs to be able to check the healthiness of the hair prior to creating the hair extensions. By using a metallurgical microscope, attached with a microscope camera, images of each strand of hair can be examined for damage.

Single strands of hair were captured at 700x magnification under the MT8100 metallurgical microscope.
One of the hardest parts of viewing the strands of hair at such high magnification, is the ability to flatten the hair strand. Since each strand of hair has a circular shaft, the hair must be pulled tight in order to get it in focus across the field of view. Rather than trying to place the hair between a slide and cover slip (which causes unwanted reflection) the easiest way to flatten each hair strand is by pulling each end tight while holding it under the microscope.

Three strands of hair, with the center one being out of focus since it is on a different focal plane.