Friday, May 29, 2009

Biological Microscopes

Biological microscopes are used in schools, hospitals, laboratories, and for hobby. Digital biological microscopes have a camera built in to the microscope. Most digital microscopes connect directly through the USB port to the computer and will allow you to view a live image on the computer screen. You can then capture and save both still images and motion video. These images were captured with the National Optical DC5-163 digital biological microscope.

Trachea, 100x magnification.

Trachea, 400x magnification.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Metallurgical Microscopes

In manufacturing metals, it is often important to be able to find flaws in the metal prior to final production. However, the standard biological high power microscope will not allow you to view metals because light comes from beneath the stage and will not shine through solid objects.

The two images above were captured using the MC2000 microscope digital camera on a National Optical 420T stereo microscope. These images were captured at 30x magnification. In order to view scratches or minor flaws in metal, a stereo microscope works well.

In more advanced instances, when more magnification is required a metallurgical microscope is best. The image above was captured with the Meiji MT7100 metallurgical microscope at 200x magnification. The metallurgical microscope is similar to a biological microscope, in that it has high power objectives. On a metallurgical microscope however, the light shines down from inside the objective directly onto your specimen, allowing you to view opaque samples at high magnification.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Darkfield Microscopy

Darkfield is a microscopy technique that is helpful when viewing specimens that have a similar color as their background. Darkfield is used to describe the illumination feature in which the light is dispersed around the sides of the object, in effect giving the specimen a back-lit appearance. It is most frequently used to view live specimen samples that have not been stained.

Darkfield microscopy can be performed with a stereo dissecting microscope, or a high power biological microscope.

The above images are live blood cells captured using the MC2300 microscope digital camera on the Meiji MT5200 biological microscope with darkfield.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sand under the Microscope

Sand is best viewed under a stereo zoom microscope with about 10x - 40x magnification. A microscope allows you to view the individual particles and if using transmitted light (light from beneath the sand) you can often view the aberrations in each piece of sand.

The colors of sand vary greatly depending on the area the sand came from. Some sand is created from river rocks that eroded from riverbanks. Other particles of sand look like small polished pieces of rock. There is even a beach in California called glass beach! This beach was created many years ago when residents used to dump garbage near the coast of a town near Fort Bragg, California. Years of waves crashing on the beach have polished small pieces of glass into colorful pebbles!

You can view more images of sand under a microscope here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coins and Microscopes

Coin collecting is a hobby that is enhanced with the use of a coin microscope. Being able to identify details or defects in a coin becomes much easier with a microscope. Keep in mind that as you increase your magnification, your field of view will become smaller. In other words, at higher magnification you will not be able to view the entire coin through the eyepieces.

There is a large spectrum of microscopes available for coin collectors. They range from basic single magnification microscopes, to more advanced zoom stereo microscopes. Digital microscopes have a camera built in and allow you to view the coin on your computer screen as well as capture and save images.

Images were captured with the DS2 digital student microscope,
20x magnification.

When viewing coins a magnification of 10x - 30x is usually ideal.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Muscle Under the Microscope

The above image is human smooth muscle under a microscope at 400x magnification. This image was captured with a Canon SLR digital camera using the CSLR microscope camera adapter on the 163 compound microscope.

Smooth muscle is a type of non-striated muscle. Striated muscle refers to a muscle fiber that is formed into parallel fibers, most often found in skeletal and cardiac muscle. The image above is non-striated muscle and is found within the walls of hollow organs and in areas such as the bladder, uterus, abdominal cavity, GI tract, respiratory tract and iris of the eye. The smooth muscle prepared slide is included in the Histology prepared slide kit.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Microscope C-Mount Adapters Explained

A microscope c-mount adapter allows you to connect a microscope camera to the trinocular port of your microscope. C-Mount adapters are microscope-specific, which means that if you are using a Meiji microscope, you need the Meiji c-mount adapter to connect your camera. Image at left is a Motic C-Mount adapter for the SMZ stereo microscope.

C-Mount adapters have a standard 1" (25mm) diameter thread. The c-mount adapter allows you to connect any brand of microscope camera with c-mount threads, to your microscope. The c-mount adapter has a reduction lens in it. This allows the camera to see a similar magnified image compared to what the eyepieces see. Depending on the size of the chip in your camera (1/2", 2/3", etc.), you would want to choose a different magnification c-mount adapter. When using 10x eyepieces and a camera with a 1/2" chip in it, you would want to select either a 0.45x or 0.5x c-mount adapter. You can learn more about how to select the correct magnification c-mount adapter here.
Meiji C-Mount adapters varying from 2.5x - 0.3x.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Larva of a Long-Spined Tropical Sea Urchin

This image is larva of the long-spined tropical sea urchin Diadema Antillarum, at day 32. The larva is ready for metamorphosis into the juvenile.

Image courtesy of Martin Moe.
This image was captured using the Meiji MT4310 phase contrast microscope along with a Nikon D80 camera, connected to the microscope with the ND80 camera adapter. The image was captured using bright field at 400x magnification.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Foam under a Microscope

This image of foam was captured with the PRCFscan microscope camera. This camera is exceptional for research applications or tasks where light is low. Generally when working in low-light conditions, a camera with a CCD chip is best for obtaining a crisp and clear resolution image. Cameras with CMOS chips are better for routine image capture and everyday use. CMOS cameras are often used in industrial settings where extreme detail in the photograph is not as important.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Microscope World Launches Blog!

Microscope World is excited to announce the launch of its blog. In this area you will find information on microscopes, microscopy and all-things-microscope. We regularly capture images with the microscope and hope to be able to share these with you as well.

The image at left is an insect antennae under a student biological microscope at 100x magnification. Notice that this antennae was transparent enough to allow the light from beneath the microscope stage to pass through the antennae. If the antennae had been a solid opaque color, you would not have been able to view as many details on the specimen.