Thursday, May 30, 2013

Printed Circuit Board

Printed circuit boards have soldering joints on them that must be examined during quality control for defects. In order to view these joints a stereo microscope or a measuring microscope with higher magnification is typically used.

This printed circuit board was examined under the MC70 measuring microscope using the DCC5.1P CCD 5 mega pixel digital microscope camera with software for capturing the images.

50x magnification - solder joints.
50x magnification.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Crossline Reticle under the Microscope

A microscope eyepiece reticle is a small circular glass disc that fits into the eyepiece of the microscope and has a ruler, cross-line or other markings printed on it that are imposed upon the microscope image. Eyepiece reticles are most often used for measuring and counting.

The RETCL cross line reticle was placed under the MC70 measuring microscope simply to inspect the reticle markings. The images below were captured at various magnifications using a 5.1mp CCD microscope camera.

Cross-line reticle at 100x magnification.
Cross-line reticle at 200x magnification.
Cross-line reticle at 500x magnification.
The RETCL cross line reticle has 10mm / 100 divisions on each axis with 100um between lines.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Jewelers Microscopes

Jewelers microscopes typically have a slightly different setup in that they use darkfield in order to better view precious stones and diamonds, and they also offer the correct lower magnification that is best for viewing jewelry.

Gemological microscopes are available in a variety of prices from simple and basic stereo microscopes that offer a darkfield attachment with a gem clamp, to advanced swivel base full featured gemological microscopes.

All the images above were captured with a very basic stereo microscope and a microscope camera.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stentor (Protozoa) Under the Microscope

Stentor are sometimes referred to as trumpet animalcules because of their horn shape. They typically reach a full grown length of 2mm and are among the largest known unicellular organisms.

Image courtesy Mark Simmons
The image above contains multiple Stentors and was captured using a biological microscope and a consumer digital camera adapter that connected the camera to the microscope.

The body of the Stentor is typically horn-shaped with a ring of prominent cilia around the end of the horn that helps sweep in food and aids in swimming. Stentor are often different colors, including blue. Stentor are found worldwide in freshwater lakes and streams and are usually attached to algal filaments.

Image courtesy Mark Simmons

Monday, May 20, 2013

Measuring Edges with a Microscope

Microscope World has a customer that manufactures printed circuit boards.

This is the circuit board the customer manufactures. They needed to measure the very thin edge of the circuit board (when it is flipped on its side).

Using the MC-70 measuring microscope for higher magnification, the circuit board was turned on its side and the images shown below were captured.

Images were captured using a 5.1mp CCD microscope camera.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Age Specific Microscope Science Projects

Microscopes provide a great tool for kids to learn about science. Below are some ideas for kids of different ages.

Elementary School Children

Elementary students are often best introduced to science and the microscope with items that are easily found outside such as flowers, insects or leaves. Using a low power simple microscope such as the 20x magnification MW1-L1 or the Little Professor Microscope, these items are easy to view.

Feather captured under the microscope.

Middle School Children

Middle school students are a bit more advanced and enjoy viewing items under the microscope that have more complexity to them. Sugar and salt are perfect items to view under a high power microscope. Have the students look at the granules of sugar or salt on a microscope slide starting at 40x magnification, then moving up to 100x magnification. Once they have viewed the grains of sugar or salt, have them add a drop of water to the sample and notice the changes that take place under the microscope.

Sugar captured at 40x magnification under the microscope.

High School Kids

High school students are learning about things that can't be seen with the naked eye in biology and chemistry. A great science project for high school students is viewing normal tap water versus pond water with a high school biology microscope. The water samples can be placed with an eye dropper on a well depression slide and covered with a glass cover slip.

Bacteria found in pond water.
If you have images you captured using the microscope for a science project we would love to see them. Visit the Microscope World Facebook page and share them with us!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Foam under the Microscope

Foam occasionally needs to be analyzed during the manufacturing process to ensure that the air bubbles in the foam are the appropriate distance apart. These images were captured by Microscope World for a customer that manufactures foam.

Foam captured with a 2mp microscope camera.
On the image of foam above notice the small black ruler imposed on the image. This ruler was created using the basic software that is included with the microscope camera.

Foam captured with a stereo microscope.
The image above was captured using a stereo microscope with transmitted light from beneath the stage. The image was captured with a 2mp microscope camera.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Microscopes: Binocular vs. Trinocular

What is the difference between a binocular microscope and a trinocular microscope?

A binocular microscope has two eyepieces for viewing the specimen. Binocular microscopes are more comfortable to look through for extended periods of time than a monocular (single eyepiece) microscope.

Binocluar Microscope
A trinocular microscope has two eyepieces just like the binocular microscope does, but then it also has a third eyetube for connecting a microscope camera.

Trinocular Microscope
When connecting a camera to the microscope, a c-mount adapter is used to connect a microscope camera, or certain point-and-shoot consumer digital cameras can be attached using a microscope camera adapter.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Microscope

Whether you are purchasing a microscope for a child, for use as a hobby, or for research, here are a few things to consider.

Plastic or Metal: Only those microscopes made of die-cast metal are sturdy enough to withstand viewing without vibration interference. Plastic microscopes are lighter, but they are also less stable and easily damaged. The lenses (optics) in the microscope should always be made of glass. Plastic optics offer a blurry image and can be frustrating to use, especially for children.

Microscope Magnification: When using a biological (high power) microscope, magnification above 1000x is frowned upon, as it offers empty magnification that will not be clear and crisp.

Monocular, Binocular or Trinocular Microscope: A monocular microscope has a single eyepiece for viewing. This is perfect for occasional viewing through the microscope. Binocular microscopes offer two eyepieces and are more comfortable for viewing items over a longer period of time. Trinocular microscopes provide two eyepieces for viewing the specimen, along with an additional eyepiece for attaching a camera (the trinocular port).

Monocular Microscope
Binocular Microscope

Trinocular Microscope
Illumination: The most common microscope illuminators offered include tungsten, fluorescent, halogen and LED. Tungsten and halogen illuminators heat up, so if viewing live specimens that could be damaged by heat, it is recommended to avoid these lights. Halogen and LED illuminators are the brightest and of all the light microscope options, LED is usually preferable because of its cool, long-lasting light bulbs.

Focusing: Most microscopes will offer either only coarse focusing (single focusing knob) or coarse and fine focusing (two focusing knobs). Coarse and fine focusing is generally required for clear viewing of any specimens above 40x magnification.

X-Y Stage: A microscope mechanical stage allows the user to move the stage from left to right or forward and backward by using one of two knobs. Slight adjustments can be made in the stage position, making it easier to keep the specimen in the field of view while looking at it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Marine Embryos under Microscope

The marine embryos below were captured by Joseph Cobi at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington using a biological microscope and a microscope camera.

Marine embryos captured with the 5.1mp CCD microscope camera.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Closterium under the Microscope

Closterium is a type of green algae found mostly in fresh water.

Image courtesy Wikipedia
Closterium are typically cylindrical and/or crescent-shaped without a spine. The ends of the cell are usually tapered and may be either pointed or round.

Image captured under a biology microscope courtesy of Mark Simmons.

Polymers in the cell wall may help protect the cell from drying out and allow them to survive for months in environments such as dried mud at the edges of lakes. Closterium moves in a somersaulting motion by secreting mucilage from alternating ends of the cell.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Water Fleas under the Microscope

Cladocera is an order of small crustaceans that are commonly referred to as water fleas. Rarely found in oceans, Cladocera are more commonly found in inland water habitats. Most Cladocera are 0.2mm - 6mm in length, with a single eye. The head has two pair of antennae - one with olfactory setae and the other for swimming. The mouth is small and is used to eat bacteria and organic material.

Cladocera image captured under a biological microscope courtesy of Mark Simmons.

Image courtesy Paul Herbert.
Have any interesting images you have captured under your microscope? We would love to see them! Email us here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Brittle Star Echinoderm under Microscope

Martin Moe, a customer of Microscope World recently captured this image under his stereo microscope.

Juvenile Brittle Star Echinoderm under the Microscope.
Moe was looking for Diadema juveniles under the microscope on day 58 of the growth phase, when he noticed something that appeared to be an 800 micron sized snowflake. He knew this was an Echinoderm, but wasn't sure if it was a starfish or a brittle star. After further research he discovered that juvenile echinoderms with barbed arms and rapid movement are brittle star juveniles.

If you have an image of an interesting species you captured under the microscope we would love to share it. Email Microscope World with questions or photos captured under your microscope.