Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to School Tips

It's once again that time of year for students. A time of new classes, new teachers and an entire year of learning and discovery for students as a new school year is in their horizon. Below are some helpful tips for keeping your student organized and focused all school year long. 

Use binders for organizing projects or subjects. Create a science binder that you will fill up all year long with images and projects.

Create a science storage area where the kids can access supplies when needed, but also know how to put scientific instruments away to protect them. If you have a microscope, store it in a case, or keep the microscope dust cover on it when not in use. 

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Create hands-on experimental learning experiences at home. Make an effort to take children on after school educational outings and talk to them about their learning experiences. Reinforcing what they have learned in school is an excellent way to sharpen their skills in science. 

Shop Student Biological Microscopes:

For beginning science students we recommend the:
40X-1600X Digital Monocular Compound Microscope with 1.3MP Camera
On sale for $259.99 USD

40X-1600X Digital Monocular Compound Microscope with Built-in 1.3MP Camera

Monday, August 19, 2013

Immersion Oil 101

Immersion oil is used with high power objectives such as light microscopes.
Light microscopes have an upper limit to their resolving power of marginally over 1,000 x. At this level of magnification, the microscope needs to direct every available amount of light in order to achieve a clear image. The immersion oil helps to reduce the refraction since it has a refractive index equal to glass. As a result, it forms a continuum between the objective lens and the slide, thereby successfully ensuring that more light is directed towards the specimen and ultimately, a clearer image.

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Immersion oils are commonly available in two viscosities; low viscosity (A), and high viscosity ( B). The low viscosity oil is applied to the airspace between slide and objective, the high viscosity oil is applied between the condenser and the slide. 

How to Use it: 
Type A: Locate a specimen on the slide and center it in the image field. Rotate the nosepiece until the 100x objective lens is just to one side of the slide. Place a single drop of immersion oil on the slide cover slip and place a drop directly on the objective lens. Combined, both drops ensure no air is trapped in between. Rotate the 100x objective into place and adjust the fine focus to fully resolve the image. 

It is very important to carefully clean the oil off your objective lens before it dries. Carefully wipe oil from all glass surfaces with a folded piece of clean lens paper. Moisten a piece of lens cleaning paper with lens cleaning fluid and wipe away any residual streaks of oil.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Polarizing Microscopes

Several types of microscopes are at hand for study of biological materials. Their classification is based on the types of light source used and consists of two main categories; optical microscopes utilizing visible light and microscopes that utilize sources other than visible light. 

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Polarizing Microscope: Many natural objects including crystals & fibers exhibit special optical property known as double refraction or birefringence. Birefringence is caused by asymmetric particles, too small to be resolved even by best possible lenses. The polarizing microscope is a conventional microscope in which a nickel prism or Polaroid sheet is interposed in the light path below the condenser. This polarizer converts all the light passing through the instrument into plain polarized light. A similar second prism know as the analyzer is placed within the barrel of the microscope above the objective lens. When the analyzer is rotated until its axis is perpendicular to that of polarizer, no light can pass through the ocular lens, resulting in a dark field effect. The field will remain black if an isotropic or singly refractive object is placed on the stage. A birefringent object, however, will appear bright upon a dark background when examined in this manner.

We recommend the 40x-1000x Trinocular Infinity Polarizing Microscope with 9.0 MP Camera

40x-1000x Trinocular Infinity Polarizing Microscope+9.0MP Camera

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Objective Lens Comparison

Objective Lenses: 
Achromatic vs Semi-Plan vs Plan 

Besides some special microscope objective lenses, there are three kinds of objective lenses on the market.
Achromatic, semi-plan, and plan. 

Achromatic Lens:

Semi-Plan Lens:

Plan Lens: 


First of all, all these three objective lenses correct for color, although there's no "achromatic" in the name of "semi-plan" or "plan". The difference between these three lenses is the focusing area which can be seen from the eyepieces when using high power objective lenses such as 40x, 60x and 100x. 

The difference from low power lenses are not obvious, which means that can be ignored. At high power, an achromatic lens has about 65% of focused area acrossing the center. A semi-plan one has about 85% whereas the plan one has 95%. 

 Due to the correction from the different lenses, the price for those lenses are also different. Here are some links for the objective lenses: