Thursday, May 28, 2015

Kids Science Project: Bottled Water versus Tap Water

Ever wonder if bottled water is cleaner than the tap water from your home? This is a great experiment that can help you find out!

Science Supplies Needed for Science Project:

Richter Optica F1 kids microscope
Kids Microscope F1
Prepare two different slides - one with your bottled water and one with the tap water and place each under the microscope. Can you identify any different particles in one versus the other? You will want to take a minimum of five samples from each the bottled water and the tap water to get a good sample size. Make sure you keep track of your results and draw or capture images of what you see in the water.

Bacteria can be viewed at 400x magnification, as well as most living organisms. Which water are you more comfortable drinking? Do you think there is a big difference between tap water and bottled water? You may also want to try this experiment in different locations - for example if you travel to a different state to visit friends or family you may want to bring some tap water home to test out your experiment and hypothesis again.

Monday, May 25, 2015


USA flag memorial day.

Today we pause to remember those who have served our country. Thank you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mitutoyo Objectives and Microscopes


Microscope World is proud to carry the entire Mitutoyo line including objective lenses, toolmaker microscopes, profile projectors, hardness testers, calipers, micrometers, etc. Mitutoyo microscopes and industrial metrology products have been manufactured to meet high quality standards for over 80 years. All products are manufactured in Japan.

Mitutoyo is known for their incredibly high quality (including high NA) objective lenses. All of the Mitutoyo objective lenses can be purchased online. Many of the Mitutoyo objectives are suitable for laser use.

The Mitutoyo products can be found online here. If you are unable to locate a specific Mitutoyo product, please contact Microscope World.

Monday, May 18, 2015

How Does a Light Microscope Work?

Ever wonder how a light microscope (also known as a compound microscope or biological microscope) works? This article explains in detail how a light microscope works.

A compound light microscope gathers light from a small area (where your specimen is on the stage) and sends this light up through the objective lens. The objective lens magnifies the sample, as do the eyepieces you are looking through.

Image explaining how a light microscope works.
Light Microscope Features and Functions

In order to focus the image, the coarse focusing is used first in order to put the sample in the correct location to obtain a clear image. On light microscopes, moving the focusing knob will either move the stage up and down, or move the head of the microscope up and down. On the RB20 biological microscope shown above, moving the coarse focus adjusts the height of the stage. On most high school microscopes, the focusing mechanisms moves the height of the head of the microscope. Once the coarse focus knob has been used to put the sample in the correct location, next the fine focus knob is used to fine-tune the focus and create a crisp and clear image.

Light microscopes use a condenser above the light source in order to focus and direct the light up through the specimen (in a small beam of light) and into the eyepieces. Both the rheostat on the light as well as the iris on the condenser are used in order to get this beam of light focused properly when viewing the sample.

The objective lenses can be rotated in order to change the magnification of the microscope. Most light microscopes utilize 10x eyepieces and this magnification is multiplied by the objective lens value to determine the microscope magnification. For example, when using the 4x objective lens (4x10=40x) the magnification is therefore 40x. If the objective lens is rotated to the 10x objective (10x10=100x) the total magnification becomes 100x.

Light microscopes provide magnification up to 1000x. Any light microscope that advertises magnification above 1000x will be providing empty magnification and the images will not be clear or in focus.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Richter Optica S6.7 Stereo Zoom Microscopes

Richter Optica has updated the S6.6 stereo zoom microscope to the S6.7 stereo zoom microscope. This new stereo microscope release includes many of the same features from the S6.6 stereo microscope with several added benefits. New features of this stereo zoom microscope include:
  • Dual focusing widefield eyepieces (available in 10x, 15x and 20x)
  • 10x & 15x eyepieces accept 24mm diameter reticle
  • Zoom range of 0.67x - 4.5x
  • Bright dual LED top and bottom illumination with individual rheostat controls
  • Optional 0.5x, 1.5x and 2x auxiliary lenses
  • Optional polarizing set for the stereo microscope
  • Optional darkfield kit for the stereo microscope
  • Binocular and trinocular microscopes available
Richter Optica S6.7 Stereo Zoom Microscope with 6.7x - 45x magnification and dual LED lights.
Richter Optica S6.7 Stereo Zoom Microscope
 If you have questions regarding the Richter Optica S6.7 stereo zoom microscope contact us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kids Science Project: Boiling Water

Ever wonder how much bacteria is killed by boiling water? This is great science project that will help you answer this question!

Science Project Supplies

Find a local stream or pond and fill your container with water. You don't need to gather mucky, dirty water - clear water is fine. Place a drop of the water on your depression slide and look at it under the microscope - specifically at 100x and 400x magnification. Can you locate some bacteria? The image below shows some of what you might find in your collected water.

Bacteria under the microscope.
Next, fill a pot with your pond water and boil the water for a minimum of 30 minutes. Once the water has cooled, place a drop of your boiled water under the microscope. Have the bacteria disappeared? Would you feel safe drinking this water? What remains under the microscope after the water was boiled?

If you are presenting your science project to your class, show images or drawings of what was under the microscope both before and after you boiled the water. Explain what caused the water contents to change.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Microscope Troubleshooting

Getting a microscope to work can be frustrating. Below are a few pointers on how to troubleshoot some areas that might be causing you microscopy grief.

The Microscope Won't Focus

Microscope condenser image
Microscope Condenser
If you're using a biological compound microscope and can't seem to get the lenses into focus (in
particular the 40x and 100x objectives), check these areas:
  • The height of your condenser may be set too high or too low (this can also affect resolution).
  • Make sure that your objective lenses are screwed all the way into the body of the microscope.
  • On high school microscopes, if someone adjusts the rack stop, the microscope will not focus. The microscope rack stop is in place in order to prevent the lenses from slamming into the microscope stage and breaking. However, if it is out of place it will prevent the microscope from focusing properly.

Rack stop on high school microscope.

Microscope Rack Stop

If you are using a stereo microscope and can't get your image into focus, the body of the microscope is either too far away or too close to your object. If you know the working distance of the microscope, this is the distance that is required between the lens of the microscope and the top of your object in order for your sample to be in focus.

Microscope Working distance illustration
Microscope Working Distance

The Camera Won't Show an Image

If you can't see an image in the microscope camera, or the computer your camera is hooked up to only shows a black screen, make sure you pulled out the beam splitter on the microscope. The beam splitter sends light from the microscope eyetubes and directs it up to the camera.

Microscope beam splitter sends light to the microscope camera.
Microscope Beam Splitter

The Microscope Light Won't Work

  • Most microscopes have an on/off switch as well as a rheostat control. Make sure the rheostat is turned up. Many times the microscope is turned on, but the rheostat is off and won't allow light to pass through.
  • Is the field iris opened up?
  • Is your fuse burned out?
  • Is your microscope bulb burned out?
  • If you're using a cordless microscope, has it been charged?

The Stereo Zoom Microscope Won't Change Magnification

Stereo zoom microscopes adjust the magnification when the zoom knob is turned as gears inside the microscope turn. Over time and extended use these gears can sometimes become stripped. Below is an image of a stereo zoom microscope where the zoom magnification gears became stripped and the microscope would no longer change magnification. This type of problem requires professional technical repair or replacement. Contact your microscope manufacturer.

Internal stripped gears on a stereo zoom microscope.

There are Dirty Specks in the Microscope Field of View

Dirt on objectives, eyepieces, or in the internal parts of the microscope can result in microscopy images that are less than ideal. In order to determine which part of your microscope is dirty, and ultimately which parts you need to clean, follow these guidelines.
  • Look through the microscope while turning the eyepieces. If the spec of dirt moves, clean your eyepieces. (View cleaning tips here).
  • While looking through your microscope, move the slide on the stage. If the speck of debris moves, your slide should be cleaned, or your sample replaced.
  • If you have adjusted both the slide and the eyepieces and the speck of dirt does not move, clean your objective lens. Especially if you are using a 100x oil immersion objective, many times oil and dirt will build up on the objective. Microscope cleaning supplies can be found here.
When your microscope is not in use cover it with a dust cover. Store the microscope in a cool, dry place.

Microscope image captured with clean objective lenses
Clean Lens Microscope Image
Dirty microscope lens image
Dirty Lens Microscope Image
If you are having trouble with your microscope and can't figure out why it is not working, contact Microscope World.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Toolmaker's Microscopes

Toolmaker's microscopes are used for inspection and measurement of machined parts. The toolmaker's microscope is typically used in the quality control process when precise measurements are required.

Toolmaker's microscope with digimatic micrometer heads.
Toolmaker's microscope with digimatic measuring heads.

Toolmaker's microscopes are available with manual measuring micrometer heads, as shown below, or with digimatic micrometer heads. The manual micrometer heads are less expensive and provide measurements in either mm or inches. Measurements are made by positioning the sample in the center of the cross-line reticle in the microscope, then turning the micrometer (which controls the stage) until the edge of the part lines up with the crossline. The micrometer head measures the distance the stage moved.

Toolmaker's microscope manual micrometer measuring heads.
Manual micrometer measuring heads found on toolmaker's microscope.

Digimatic micrometer measuring head for toolmaker's or measuring microscopes.
Digimatic micrometer measuring head found on toolmaker's microscope.

The digimatic micrometer measuring head fits on the stage of the toolmaker's microscope and performs the same functions as the manual micrometer head but with a digital readout. The digimatic micrometer measuring head can easily switch back and forth between measurements in mm and inches as well.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Microscope Mechanical Stages

HS-1M High School Microscope

Microscopes often have a built-in mechanical stage, while others have the option to add a mechanical stage. A microscope mechanical stage allows the user to maneuver the samples under the microscope left and right or forward and backward simply by turning a small knob. A microscope mechanical stage gives the user much more control when viewing the sample and makes it easier to keep that sample inside the microscope field of view.

The mechanical stage shown below replaces the stage clips on the HS-1M high school microscope shown at left. By adding the mechanical stage it becomes easier to maneuver slides and keep samples in the field of view.

Microscope mechanical stage examples.
Attachable microscope mechanical stage.

The UX1-LCD microscope below has a built-in mechanical stage. Notice the drop-down controls on the side of the microscope. One of these moves the stage left-right and the other moves the stage forward-backward.
Built-in microscope mechanical stage.
Built-In Microscope Mechanical Stage

The stereo microscope mechanical stage shown below is made for a stereo microscope with transmitted light.

Stereo microscope mechanical stage.
Stereo microscope mechanical stage.
If you have questions about adding a mechanical stage to your microscope, please contact us.