Thursday, March 28, 2013

Howard Disc Counting Reticle

The Howard Disc counting reticle has 25 dots evenly spread across it in a 5 x 5 pattern. This reticle is most commonly used in food processing (most often for tomato based products such as paste, sauce or juice). The Howard counting reticle is made up of 1.382mm diameter dots.  When the specimen is viewed with the 10x objective, a count of mold fibers is taken for each circle. If the number exceeds recommended amounts set by USDA, the sample will be checked again using the 20x objective.

Howard Disc Counting Reticle

You can purchase the Howard Disc Counting Reticle here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stereo Fluorescence Microscopes

Microscope World offers an inexpensive line of stereo fluorescence microscopes. These stereo fluorescence microscopes were recently used to capture zebrafish images over the course of three days.

DAY 1:

Zebrafish embryo captured at 25x magnfication.
All images were captured using the stereo fluorescence microscope and a monochrome microscope camera.

Multiple embryos.
Two zebrafish embryos at 30x magnification.

DAY 2:

Embryos and developing zerbrafish.
30x magnification - two zebrafish and part of an embryo on the top of the image.
These images captured with the Lumenera Infinity 2-2 microscope camera.

Looking more like developed fish.

DAY 3:

Day 3 developed zebrafish.

View the complete line of stereo fluorescent microscopes here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

England Finder Slide

The England Finder is a glass slide marked in vacuum deposited chromium over the top surface in such a way that a reference position can be deduced by direct reading, the relationship between the reference pattern and the locating edges being the same in all finders. The object of the Finder is to give the microscope user an easy method of recording the position of a particular field of interest in a specimen mounted on a slide, so that the same position can be re-located using any other England Finder on any light microscope.

England Finder Illustration

The England finder slide consists of a glass slide marked with a square grid at 1mm intervals. Each square contains a center ring bearing reference letter and number, the remainder of the square being subdivided into four segments numbered 1-4. Reference numbers run horizontally 1-75 and letters vertically A-Z (omitting I). The main locating edge is the bottom of the slide which is used in conjunction with either the left or right vertical edge of the slide, according to the fixed stop of the stage of the microscope, all three locating edges being marked with arrow heads. The label on the finder should always appear visually at the bottom left corner when through most microscopes the reference image will appear correct. You can purchase the England Finder Slide here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cork under the Microscope

Microscope World recently used the HSZ6-TBL stereo zoom microscope to view a cork from a wine bottle.

Cork is a buoyant material that is harvested for commercial use primarily from the Cork Oak, which is found in southwest Europe and northwest Africa. Cork is impermeable, buoyant, and fire resistant and is therefore used in a variety of products, the most common of which are wine stoppers. The montado landscape of Portugal produces approximately 50% of cork harvested annually worldwide.

100x Magnification obtained with higher magnification c-mount adapter.
100x Magnification. Captured with DCM2.1 microscope camera.
100x Magnification.
You will notice in the above images of cork that some of the crevices are not fully in focus - this happens because the higher the magnification on the microscope, the smaller the depth of field becomes. So if you are not working with a substance that is completely flat, you will have to refocus in order to see hills and valleys in the specimen.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Stereo Boom Stand Microscopes

Stereo microscope are often used to inspect large parts. When using a standard stereo microscope, often times the large pieces will not fit under the microscope. This is when a boom stand becomes helpful.

Stereo microscope on ball bearing boom stand.
There are three types of microscope boom stands.
  1. Standard boom stands have a single horizontal and vertical pole. 
  2. Ball bearing boom stands slide on the horizontal axis, making it easier to move the stereo microscope head back and forth when viewing objects.
  3. Articulated arm stands have several joints that can be locked into place.
Stereo microscope on articulated arm stand.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hair Repair under the Microscope

Microscope World recently had a customer who wanted to do some analysis as to whether their hair care serum was actually working. In order to test the product, single strands of hair needed to be tested under a high power biological microscope.

Photos of the same strand of hair that was tested before and after the hair serum was applied were captured using the  Digital BA210 biological microscope.

100x Magnification - before using hair serum.
100x Magnification - after using hair serum.
400x Magnification - before using hair serum.
400x Magnification - after using hair serum.
100x Magnification - before using hair serum.
100x Magnification - after using hair serum.
When viewing a single strand of hair under a biological microscope it is important to keep the strand of hair flat or at least pulled tight so that all surfaces of the hair are on the same focal plane, otherwise portions of the strand of hair will not be in focus.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Peacock under the Microscope

Peafowl are three species of flying birds in the genus Pavo from the pheasant family. These birds are best known for the male's colorful eye-spotted tail, which it displays while courting the female.

Photo: Jebulon
The male is called a peacock. The female a peahen (usually grey or brown), and offspring are peachicks.

All images captured at 100x magnification under the HSZ6-TBL stereo microscope using the DCM2.1 microscope camera. Magnification was increased using a slightly higher magnifying c-mount camera adapter.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Skin Under the Microscope

Skin is the largest organ of the integumentary system in mammals. Amphibians, reptiles and birds have a different type of skin. Skin is a very important organ because it interfaces with the environment and is the first line of defense from external factors, including protecting the body against pathogens, insulating the body, temperature regulation and excessive water loss.

In humans the thinnest layer of skin on the body is found under the eyes and around the eyelids (0.5mm thick). The palms and soles of the feet contain the thickest layers of skin (4mm thick).

Thin layer of skin captured at 100x magnification under a stereo microscope using the bottom light for illumination only.

Human skin under the HSZ6-TBL LED stereo zoom microscope using the top light only at 100x magnification.

Another shot captured at 100x magnification using the bottom light. The microscope camera used to capture this image was the DCM2.1 microscope camera.

Top illumination only, 100x magnification.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fish Scales Under the Microscope

The skin of most bony and cartilaginous fish are covered in scales. Even eels have microscopic scales on them! Fish scales are produced from the mesoderm layer of the dermis, which distinguishes them from reptile scales. The same genes involved in tooth and hair development in mammals are also involved in scale development in fish.

Microscope World recently visited the fish market and purchased some fresh salmon to view under the HSZ6-TBL stereo zoom microscope. The images below were all captured at 100x magnification using the DCM2.1 microscope camera and microscope software. 100x magnification was reached by using a slightly higher magnification c-mount camera adapter.

Fish scales, 100x magnification.
Fish scales, 100x, notice the small droplets of blood.
Fish scales, 100x, darker spots.
All of the fish images were captured from the same piece of fish, notice how different some of the parts look, all at the same magnification under the microscope.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Butterfly under the Microscope

The butterfly is most active during the day and is an insect of the order Lepidoptera. The butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Once butterflies reach the adult stage, they have four wings with tiny scales. These scales can be seen in the images below that were captured under a stereo dissecting microscope.

Butterfly wing, 100x magnification captured using the DCM2.1 microscope camera.
A butterfly's fore and hindwings are not hooked together, which allows the butterfly to fly more gracefully. After the butterfly emerges from its pupal stage it can not fly until the wings are unfolded.

Butterfly wing, 100x magnification under the HSZ6-TBL stereo zoom microscope.
A newly emerged butterfly needs to spend time inflating its wings with blood and letting them dry before it can first take flight. This wing-drying process takes anywhere from 1-3 hours, a time period that makes the butterfly quite vulnerable to predators.

Butterfly wing, 100x.
The color of butterfly wings is created by tiny scales. The blue color from this butterfly is created by the microstructure of the scales. This structural coloration is a result of coherent scattering of light by the photonic crystal nature of the scales. A butterfly's scales cling fairly loosely to the wing and come off easily without harming the butterfly.

A scanning electron microscope was used to capture the above image of an individual scale on a peacock feather at 1000x magnification. Image courtesy Wikipedia.