Tag Archives: North Central Instruments

Holes and Depressions: Look Deeper with Shadow-Free Illumination

Born out of necessity from surgical microscopy, near vertical illumination allows for observation into deep bored holes and recesses.

Now you don’t have to resort to surgical microscopes to benefit from this feature. The Leica LED5000 NVI and LED3000 NVI are attachments that integrate two powerful LEDs along the optical path. Anything from cartridge cases, to cylinder heads, and injectors can be viewed with shadow-free illumination.

Leica LED5000 NVI

This is a modular accessory that fits on all high end stereo microscopes. Even with the small distance between the sample and the objective, the Leica LED5000 NVI still offers a shadow-free result. If you have an M-series stereo microscope then you’ll want to go with the Leica LED3000 NVI.

“Users preferring a different color temperature can put any commercially available filter into the integrated filter insert,” said Matthias Schacht, product manager. “This is useful for generating the light characteristics of a halogen light source, for instance.”

This is also useful for reducing reflections when looking at metals or other shiny surfaces.

Shadow-free illumination is useful in those very specific situations, but it’s better to be prepared for any kind of sample.

Don’t be left in the dark.

The Next Push Forward in Digital Microscopy: The DVM6

If you’re looking for some new horsepower to put behind your quality assurance/control, forensic, or failure analysis the newest iteration in the DVM series is here.

The DVM6 streamlines the digital microscopy process. It has been crafted with ease of use in mind so don’t let the size intimidate you.Leica DVM6 side

Swapping out objectives and tilting the microscope can all be done with one hand while it stays in focus. Also, PlanApo corrected lenses along with the 10 megapixel camera and convenient lighting options provide a crisp, clean image on screen. All of this at more than 30 frames per second.

Thanks to the encoding on the DVM6 your results are reproducible. The illumination, position, magnification, etc. are saved for every image since all of the instrument components are sensor controlled.

Leica DVM6 user

This works in tandem with the LAS X software. With it you can use Live Image with High Dynamic Range to instantly see every detail. There are options to create single shots, stitch together larger ones, measure in 2D and 3D, and annotate. LAS X helps any user create reliable, accurate data.

Here is the feature list for the DVM6 straight from Leica:

  • Manual or motorized versions
  • All system components encoded – also for the manual version
  • Motorized versions are hybrid and can be operated manually as well for fast coarse positioning
  • Zoom module with 16:1 zoom range
  • Integrated 10-megapixel high-resolution camera
  • PlanApo-corrected Leica optics with long working distance
  • Motorized and software-controlled Iris diaphragm
  • Integrated ring light and coaxial LED illumination
  • Snap-on adapters for ring light contrasting (polarizer, diffusor, low angle illumination)
  • Backlight illumination for translucent samples
  • Tilting stand for one-handed operation, tilting from -60° to +60°
  • Focus drive with a travel range of 60 mm
  • XY stage with a travel range of 70 mm x 50 mm
  • Autofocus with two options: one shot on region of interest, or continuous autofocus
  • LAS X software

A Small Lesson in Multiphoton Microscopes

Maybe this is an excuse to show off these incredible images created with the Leica TCS SP8 MP, but why not take a look back at where this technology came from while we’re at it?

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What we’re seeing here is a 3D image with optical sectioning using a multiphoton microscope. The phenomenon behind this technology is called two-photon absorption (TPA). Essentially, two photons are absorbed at the exact same time in order to excite a molecule from one state to a higher energy electronic state. Thinking back to high school chemistry, light is given off once that molecule decays back to a lower state.

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Maria Goeppert-Mayer, the German-born American theoretical physicist, first predicted this process in her doctoral dissertation in 1931. It wasn’t until 30 years later, with the invention of the laser, that experimental verification for TPA was possible.

TPA was used as a spectroscopic tool until the 1980s. Once more developments in the field occurred, different applications were demonstrated. A few of them being photodynamic therapy, optical data storage, and imaging (obviously).

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Watt W. Webb is best known for suggesting using TPA for imaging and microscopy. In 1990 he co-invented mulitphoton microscopy along with Winfried Denk and Jim Strickler. Earlier in his career, Webb pioneered techniques in fluorescent correlation spectroscopy (FCS). The combination of TPA and FCS resulted in high resolution, high signal-to-noise images.

One of the biggest advantages to multiphoton microscopes is the use of long wavelength, low energy excitation lasers. This is less damaging to live cells and introduces fewer toxic effects. This unique attribute is responsible for the in vivo microscopy you’re seeing in these images. Developments in medical endoscopy are being explored since the potential for in vivo, in situ real-time diagnostics is there.

This concludes our small lesson in multiphoton microscopes. Class dismissed.

High Resolution uPAINT Localization Technique with the Leica SR GSD 3D

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via: Leica Science Lab

Imaging living cells is always a challenge for most of the common super-resolution principles. Unlike the STORM and PALM methods, universal Point Accumulation for Imaging in Nanoscale Topography, or uPAINT offers super-resolved images and single molecule trajectories at very high densities with the Leica SR GSD 3D
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Explore the Hidden Worlds All Around Us

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If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re no stranger to the ways of microscopy, but you can’t help but be amazed by the stunning textures and landscapes it can reveal.

Our latest example comes by way of the artist Pyanek and the Amazing Worlds Within Our World project. With subjects ranging from kitchen sponges to cornflakes, to soap bubbles, Pyanek takes us on a fascinating dive into more mundane objects of everyday live to explore their inner complexity.
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Stunning images from the 2014 Nikon Small World Competition

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Every year Nikon holds a global competition to find the greatest work in photomicrography. Since 1975 they’ve encouraged professionals and enthusiasts alike to submit their work to show off the natural beauty that few ever see.

This year brought over 1200 entries from 79 countries around the world. Submissions featured everything from brine shrimp, jumping spider eyes and caterpillar legs to bovine pulmonary arteries, cricket tongues and the circuitry of a DVD reader. Each one shows a unique perspective of the world that can only be seen through microscopy. Check out the full gallery of 2014’s winners and honorable mentions at Nikon Small World

If you’re reading this, chances are you have more than a casual interest in the field. We at North Central Instruments encourage everyone to participate in the public submission. Not feeling up to the challenge? You’ve got plenty of time. The next deadline for submissions is April 30th 2015.

It’s time to jump in at start exploring the world that only microscopy gives us access to. For complete details on the Small World contest. Check out. http://www.nikonsmallworld.com/enter

Buying a Microscope: What you need to know

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A lot of questions can arise when shopping for microscopes. Materials, lighting, lenses…These all determine what makes the best product for your purposes. Let this be an into to the basics to get you started.

Binocular and Monocular
When choosing between different types of microscopes, you will ask yourself, “What is better, binocular or monocular?” The answers will vary depending on your needs and budget. Binocular gives you more comfortable viewing for several hours at a time. If you need a microscope for children or students in brief sessions monocular may be a more cost effective choice,

Magnification
People often buy microscopes with too high magnification for their needs and can’t get the results they’re looking for. As a reference point, human blood cells are visible at x500 magnification. Depending on your requirements you may need even x1000 microscope, but x500 is usually enough for the majority of users.

Lighting
If a microscope has a built-in light, it uses either a fluorescent, tungsten or halogen bulb. Microscopes with fluorescent bulbs are usually the most expensive, however the light is brighter and produces less heat. Using an electric light on your scope is very convenient and useful, especially if you need a microscope for prolonged use.

Materials
If a microscope is made of plastic, don’t expect it to serve you for ages. When choosing a microscope, look for a sturdy metal alloy frame. It may be a bit more expensive, but it will stand up much better to consistent use. However, if you need to buy a microscope to be used by children, students, monocular microscope will be a better fit. In addition, it costs less in comparison to binocular.

These are just a few aspects to keep in mind when shopping for your ideal microscope. Check out our current specials, and complete product catalog to find the microscope that’s right for you.