Thursday, January 28, 2010

Corian and Granite under the Microscope

Corian and granite are common materials used for countertops in kitchens. Corian is actually a name DuPont created for a material made up of acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate. Granite is an igneous rock that generally has a medium grain texture. We recently took a look at both under a stereo microscope.

Corian at 10x magnification.

Granite at 15x magnificaiton.

Corian at 40x magnification.

Granite at 45x magnification.

All images were captured with the Moticam MC-2000 2.0 mega pixel camera and software.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Swift M10LB Digital Microscope

We recently had the opportunity to play with the Swift M10LB digital microscope. And we were impressed. Images can be captured and saved directly to the LCD monitor, or onto a removable SD card. When moving a slide under the microscope, the LCD monitor provides a clear image that is not jumpy like some cameras we have tested.

Adjustments can be made with the menu options directly on the LCD screen. Select capture size, adjust the setup or save or delete an image. Select whether you want to capture still images or motion video.

This is an image we captured with the Swift M10 microscope. The slide is a monocot and dicot.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Microscope Troubleshooting

When using your microscope you may run into a few problems once in a while. Below are some hints for ensuring that the image seen through your microscope is clear and in-focus.
Problem #1: Trouble viewing anything at the highest magnification.
Solution: Make sure you focus on the image at the lowest magnification first, then move up to the higher magnifications.

Problem #2: There is a black spot in my field of view.
Solution: Try moving the slide while looking through the microscope. Does the spot move? If so, clean your microscope slide or cover slip. If the spot does not move, rotate your eyepiece. Did the spot move? If so clean your eyepiece. If not, clean your objective lens. A microscope cleaning kit is good to have on hand.

Problem #3: Image is very dark through the eyepiece.
Solution: Check to make sure that the light is turned on. Is the rheostat control on the light really low? Try turning it up higher. Is the diaphragm open? If not open it up slowly as you look through the eyepiece. Is there a filter covering the light? If so, remove it.

Problem #4: When looking through the microscope eyepiece the image looks like a half moon - one half is dark.
Solution: Check to make sure that your objective lens is clicked fully into position.

Can't figure out something else? Send us an email and we will try to help you out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Motic Play Software

The Motic Play Software is included with the digital kids microscopes DM-52 biological microscope and DS-2 dissecting microscope.

Capture images from the microscope and then edit images with the software.

A calibration slide is included with each microscope so that you can calibrate the microscope with the software and make accurate measurements.

Make measurements of lines, find the area of a square, diameter of a circle or draw a polygon and find the area. The measurements are shown in the black box at the bottom of the screen.

After capturing images you can adjust the brightness and contrast of the image.

Save all the images you capture to your album so you can revisit them and share them with your friends and classmates.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Polarizing Microscopes

Polarizing microscopes are used to view minerals, polymers - basically anything with a crystal structure to it. Specific applications include geology, law enforcement (to look for traces of cocaine or crystal meth), pharmaceutical industries, and the medical industry - specifically to look for gout.

This image of polymers was captured with a MT9300 polarizing trinocular microscope and a MC2300 digital camera.

Polarizing microscopes use a polarizer and an analyzer in order to filter the light so that all the light waves are traveling the same direction on the same plane before it reaches the eyes. An in-depth explanation of polarization can be found here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Viewing Metal Under A Microscope

Viewing metal through the microscope can be tricky. Not only does the surface reflect light and sometimes cause hot spots in photographs, but many times the metal is not a flat surface. When viewing items with uneven surfaces at a high magnification, it's important to keep in mind that you won't be able to have the entire object in focus at the same time. This is because the depth of field decreases as magnification increases.

Metal can be viewed with either a stereo microscope or a metallurgical microscope. Stereo microscopes typically provide about 10x-50x magnification. A metallurgical microscope provides much higher magnification of 100x, 400x and sometimes 1000x. In a metallurgical microscope the light comes down through the objective lens to ensure the specimen is illuminated.

This metal slotted gear was captured using a 150w halogen dual pipe illuminator and a SMZ-168 stereo microscope at 40x magnification. Notice how parts of the gear are not in focus because the gear does not all lie on the same flat plane.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Teacher Handbook on Protozoans

The Protozoan Teacher Handbook was created by a biology teacher for grades 5-12. This handbook has illustrations and covers a variety of protists. The handbook can be used in conjunction with the Protozoan Teaching Videos or by itself.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Microscope Science Project

Need to perform a science project for school? Why not see what types of things grow in pond water when it is kept at different temperatures. Find a local pond or stream and gather some water. Use a depression slide and cover slip to view the water through a high power microscope immediately after you collect it and draw some images (or capture the images if you have a digital microscope).

Now split your pond water into two separate sealed containers, such as washed out yogurt containers with lids. Place one of the containers in a warm sunny area. Put the other container in a ziplock bag (to keep your fridge clean!) and place it in the refrigerator.

After 1-2 days take a sample from each container and compare the specimens. Are there more living organisms in the warm or cold pond water? Do you notice any new specimens swimming in the pond water samples? Why do you think this is?

The image above is bacteria captured at 400x magnification. This is an example of something you might find in the pond water during your science project experiment.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Human Tissue under the Microscope

Columnar Epithelium are cells that are elongated and column-shaped. Their nuclei are usually located near the base of the cell. Some columnar epithelium cells are specialized for sensory reception, such as in the ears, nose or taste buds on your tongue. In humans, Epithelium are classified mostly as body tissue.

Image captured at 100x magnification with the Lumenera Infiinity 2-1 CCD 1.4 mega pixel camera.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Kids Microscope

What makes a microscope a "kids microscope"? There are a few important items. Just because a microscope is made for kids, it should still have glass optics. Many kids microscopes are made from plastic and can leave children frustrated with blurry images.

Kids microscopes are generally smaller in size. The microscope should have safety features built into it such as a rack stop to prevent the objective from crashing into the microscope slide and causing damage to the lens.

Many kids microscopes are cordless - this allows kids to gather around a table without tripping over a power cord. The microscope shown below is the 104-LED microscope. This microscope can run off batteries or an optional power cord.
When purchasing a microscope as a gift for a child, including some prepared slides with the microscope will ensure that the child has immediate specimens to view upon opening the gift. Microscopes can open up a completely new world to children and provide hours of educational entertainment.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stage Micrometers

Stage micrometers are used to calibrate eyepiece reticles. Above is an image of a stage micrometer. You can learn more about measuring with a microscope and calibration here.

One of the more popular stage micrometers is the KR-814 stage micrometer. This stage micrometer tends to be popular because it has a ruler of 1 inch and 25mm inscribed on it.

Above are the actual lines as seen on the stage micrometer. For industries where inches and mm are used, this allows the user to purchase only one stage micrometer, rather than two.

This is a breakout view of the measurements on the stage micrometer. View "A" shows the distances between the lines on the far right of the ruler. You can view a variety of stage micrometers here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Aphid Under Microscope

Aphids are small plant-eating insects found most commonly in temperate climates.

Viewed through the 131-LED student microscope, this aphid appears to be missing one of his front pincers.

This aphid was captured at 100x magnification with the DK3000 microscope camera.