Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wireless Microscope Camera

Moticam X is a 2 megapixel microscope camera that includes its own WiFi. You can use this microscope camera without being on a network, and with no need for cables connecting your camera to your tablet, computer or cell phone.

This camera is the perfect solution for classrooms or households with multiple children. Streaming images are sent to up to six devices without the need for a router or a network. The Moticam X generates its own WiFi signal.

In order to use the camera on your device, you simply need to download the Apple or Android App.

The wireless Moticam X microscope camera includes software and can be used on a standard laptop computer for capturing images, making measurements and saving images.

This microscope camera is perfect for teaching environments or the workplace where multiple users need to be able to view and identify specimens up close simultaneously. You can purchase the Moticam X wireless microscope camera here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

From all of us at Microscope World - we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas with time to enjoy yourself on this day.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How to set up a Phase Contrast Microscope

Phase contrast is a microscopy technique that is helpful in viewing many biological specimens such as bacteria or blood cells. You can learn more about phase contrast here.

When setting up your phase contrast microscope, you must have phase contrast objective lenses and a phase contrast condenser.

This is the phase contrast kit that is used with the MW4-H3 phase contrast microscope. The phase contrast kit contains four phase contrast objective lenses, a centering telescope and a Zernike phase contrast condenser.

Not all phase contrast microscopes are the same, but the information below is usually similar and should help you when trying to set up your phase contrast microscope.

The condenser shown above has five settings on it: 10x, 20x, 40x, 100x and BF. These stand for each of the phase objective lenses and BF = brightfield (no phase contrast). The two screws that stick out from the condenser are centering screws and will be used when you set up the phase contrast microscope for the first time.

Phase Contrast Centering Telescope
Phase contrast condenser as seen on the microscope.
  1. Set the condenser on the BF setting and focus on a specimen. Adjust the height of the condenser for optimum image quality. Move the condenser turret to the phase setting for whichever lens you are currently using and remove the specimen.
  2. Remove one of the eyepiece lenses and insert the centering telescope in its place. If there is a set screw on the side of your centering telescope this should be used to focus the centering telescope.
  3. When looking through the centering telescope you will see two rings (shown below). By turning the centering adjustment screws on the condenser, you can align the rings so they are concentric.
  4. Remove the centering telescope and replace the eyepiece lens. Put your specimen back on the stage and you are ready for phase contrast observation!
  5. You will want to go through this process when you change objectives.
Before Alignment
After Alignment

You are now ready to view specimens in phase contrast! Remember that when you change your objective lens to a different magnification (such as 40x), make sure you adjust the phase condenser to match the same setting.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stereo Microscopes in Industry

Stereo microscopes, also known as inspection microscopes, are often used in the manufacturing industry to examine small parts for defects. During the production process errors can be caught quickly through quality control by viewing failures and cracks before they become part of a larger manufacturing product.

Car manufacturers use microscopes quite a bit to examine parts before assembling the entire automobile. Any sort of industry that needs to apply a coating or varnish will often use a microscope to examine the coating thickness.

These images of treated wood were sent to Microscope World to examine how deep the varnish penetrated the wood. The samples were placed under a stereo microscope and images were captured using a microscope digital camera. The software included with the camera was then used to make measurements to determine if varnish was being wasted, or if the right amount was being applied.

Treated wood captured under a stereo microscope.

If you have questions regarding the best type of microscope system for examining small parts or items with a coating on them, please don't hesitate to email us for further information.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Blue-Green Algae

Blue-green algae is a form of bacteria that is basically seaweed. Below you will find images of green algae and blue-green algae captured under a biological microscope at various magnifications.

Green algae captured at 40x magnification.
Blue-green algae captured under the BA310 microscope at 400x magnification.
Blue-green algae captured under the BA310 microscope at 1000x magnification.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Making Microscope Slides

A great project for kids of any age (or adults!) is making a variety of microscope slides to view under your high power microscope. There are two options when making slides - you can make slides that are temporary (used once and not saved), or slides that are permanent (you can save them to look at in the future).

When making temporary slides, the supplies needed are very basic - blank slide or depression slide (with a small well in it for placing liquid) and a cover slip. In order to make your slide, simply place the specimen on the slide, apply the cover slip so it lays flat, and view under the microscope. When finished viewing, wash the slide in warm soapy water. The cover slip is quite thin so be careful (if you do try to reuse it) that you don't break it during cleaning.

Creating permanent slides involves sealing your specimen within the slide so it lasts, and then labeling the slide so that years from now you remember what the sample was. You may also want to stain the slide, if so, this page offers great information on staining microscope slides. Prepare the slide just as you would when making temporary slides. However, when you apply the cover slip, you will want to coat the very outer edges of the cover slip with a thin layer of clear nail polish or cement in order to permanently seal the cover slip to the slide. Make sure your layer of adhesive is not too thick, as this will cause problems with not being able to focus properly on your specimen (if it is raised up too high), or the extra adhesive will ooze into your specimen and affect your viewing area.

Fun slide making ideas!
  • Cheek cells from inside your mouth (use a Q-tip to scrape the inside of your mouth).
  • Pond water, or water from a muddy puddle.
  • Fine sand particles, sugar, salt, baking soda, a vitamin C tablet - any fine powdery substance. (If you have a polarizing filter - use it when viewing these items as well!)
  • Fabric fibers or strings.
  • Cotton - a thin strand pulled off a cotton ball.
  • Soil from the back yard.
  • A blade of grass or a thin section of a flower.
  • A thin cross section of an earthworm (if it is not thin enough you won't be able to view it through the high power microscope).
  • Pet or human hair - just a single piece or two under the microscope.
 Phytoplankton found in pond water, captured with a digital biological microscope.

Single strand of hair captured at 1000x magnification.

Have any other ideas of fun things to look at under the microscope? We would love to hear from you on our Facebook page!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wheat Leaf Rust

Wheat leaf rust is a fungus that affects the stems, leaves and grains of barley, rye and wheat. Infections of wheat rust can often lead up to a significant crop loss of 20%, and sometimes 50% in severe cases. Wheat rust is spread by airborne spores. The germination process requires moisture and places with 100% humidity have more problems with the infection of crops.

Wheat Leaf Rust at 100x magnification under the microscope.
Wheat rust captured at 100x magnification using the BA310 biological microscope and the MW5.1 CCD microscope camera.

Wheat leaf rust on wheat. (Image: James Kolmer)
 Infectious spores are spread through the soil. The disease onset is slow, but in temperatures above 60°F it accelerates.

Wheat Leaf Rust at 200x magnification under the microscope.
Wheat rust captured at 200x magnification using the BA310 biological microscope and the MW5.1 CCD microscope camera.

Wheat Leaf Rust at 1000x magnification under the microscope.
Wheat rust captured at 1000x magnification using the BA310 biological microscope and the MW5.1 CCD microscope camera.