Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Brightfield Illumination Microscopy

The great thing about purchasing a bright-field microscope from MicroscopeNet is that it has a built in illumination that will directly reflect light onto the slide. Bright-field microscopes are great for observing stained samples that absorb larger areas of light. They are also excellent for observing naturally stained samples that allow a lot of light to reflect through.

The total bright-field system utilizes light from an lower source that allows the user to view magnified objects through an ocular lens. The condenser lens below the stage will direct the light through the specimen, making for a highly detailed image. This form of microscopy is best  for microbiology and botany. 

We recommend the Brightfield & Darkfield Kohler Microscope with 9.0 USB Camera 

40-2000X Brightfield/Darkfield Kohler Microscope+9.0M USB Camera

Monday, September 16, 2013

Safety Tips in Microscopy Pt.1

There is a ton of articles and instructions for taking precaution steps when handling solvents and stains. Much less is discussed when it comes to taking precautions about handling organisms themselves. Below is general advice to adhere to when handling samples that contain microorganisms.

1. Open wounds:
Do not handle microorganism-containing media if you have open wounds or cuts in your skin.

2. Disinfection:
Always disinfect hands and surfaces with an anti-bacterial cleaning agent.

3. Disposal:
Autoclave the used culture medium at 120°C for 30 minutes. This should also be able to kill spores. If you do not have an autoclave available, then cover the petri-dishes or culture medium with chlorine bleach. Allow sufficient time for these substances to work. When you add bleach, be aware that this is a corrosive substance when concentrated. Eye and skin contact must really be avoided.

4. Avoid Aerosolization:
Some microorganisms spread over air. Avoid spillage of the culture medium and carefully add the disinfectant to the medium before disposal, avoiding splattering of the liquid.

5. Keep Bacterial Counts Low:
Make sure that the sample (such as a hay infusion) contains many ciliates that consume the bacteria. Keep the level of nutrients low to avoid too many bacteria from forming and ensure that the medium has sufficient oxygen supply for the ciliates to grow.

Keep petri dishes closed and sealed. This minimizes the risk of accidentally touching the agar surface, which may be covered by bacterial colonies. Being aware of your work space and the risks of the chemicals used can reduce the possibility of you encountering risks from working with bacteria specimens.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Uses for Digital Microscopes

A digital microscope is the combination of a standard light microscope with a digital camera and accompanying software. The advantage of using a digital microscope is the ability to display images of the specimen on a computer monitor or TV screen and then save them as either still images or motion video to a hard drive.

Below are examples of excellent used for digital microscopes: 
1. Media taken with a digital microscope allow you to accurately measure, manipulate and study the subject matter on a much larger scale.
2. Media taken from digital microscopes can be used in reports, presentations, or assessments. They can easily be shared through email, across the web, or in lectures with colleagues or students. One digital microscope eliminates the need for one microscope per student because the same image can be viewed by the entire class when it is projected onto a screen.
3. Digital microscopes are useful in a variety of different fields such as biology, chemistry, and earth science. Low power digital microscopes are used frequently in gemology and manufacturing.
4. Digital video microscopes provide the ability to view small parts on large screens thereby reducing eye straining. These are extremely useful for the quality assurance team of manufacturing facilities.

40X-2000X Infinity Siedentopf LED Microscope+Built-in 5MP Camera

40X-2000X Infinity Siedentopf LED Microscope+Built-in 5MP Camera

Digital microscopes are perfect for any inspection services where constant examination of small parts is mandatory. Digital stereo zoom microscopes, also known as industrial stereo microscopes, are preferred by quality control labs and in fields of study such as petrology, gemology, and even numismatics.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fluorescence Microscopy Tips

The images you take are only as good as your equipment. So take time to take care of your equipment on a regular basis; clean objectives, cover slips, and ensure your microscope has the proper setup.

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Most objectives are designed for a cover-slip that is .17mm thick. If you fail to use the proper cover-slip, you will lose image clarity and sharpness. Although cover-slip thickness can range anywhere from .08mm to .25mm in thickness, .17mm is the most common and optimal for most microscopes.

Infinite EPI-Fluorescent Trinocular Compound Microscope 40-1000x

Slides are also another component that vary in quality. Research your brands and find out which is the best for your type of microscope.

One Pack of 100 Piece Blank Glass Slides with Frosted End

For further tips we recommend referencing the following text:
"A Guide to Super-Resolution Fluorescence Microscopy" (2010) Schermelleh et al. J Cell Bio.
"Live Cell Microscopy- Tips and Tools" (2009) Frigault et al. J Cell Sci.