Introduction . . .

This is a brand new blog, by a brand new blogger. However, some readers may recognize this blog's title, taken from a series of books of the same name. Unfortunately, time has a way of gradually making printed material all too quickly outdated -- especially these days -- and so, this blog was created partly as an attempt to address that issue.

As we move forward from here on-going efforts will be made to transfer selected content from the Better Microscopy books series into this new format, not only to provide to provide more effective distribution, but also as a means for making timely additions and overdue updates to that material. In addition, much previously unpublished material is now planned to be released, including high-resolution color images.

The current plan is to aim for a content mix that is both interesting and educational -- perhaps even inspiring -- and which will address the needs and interests of a wide range of user levels, from beginner to semi-professional. With more decades of Microscopy experience than I care to admit, I hope I will be able to contribute something to others in terms of both knowledge and enjoyment.

I hope you find something of interest in new undertaking as it takes shape and gain much from its content, now and well into the future!

Just beware of the occasional attempts at humor...

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

AO Polanret -- the Saga Continues...?

As things continue to move forward here, albeit, slowly, it seems that a little good news might be in order…
The unexpected appearance of the little-known AO Polanret unit at first seemed just another distraction; one more delay in completing the long-awaited Water Immersion piece.
However, some experience with the unit, plus methodical investigation of its workings, led to a surprising discovery – the unit actually works under water (well, more exactly, it works just fine with Water Immersion objectives)!
The net result is that the Polanret unit has the capacity to convert ordinary Water Immersion optics into a wide range of Phase Contrast types, simply by manipulating the controls. You can choose between Bright and Dark contrast, choose the level of Contrast, and even select the most effective level of Phase Shift for the particular object being observed.

So, in effect, instead of being handicapped with a very limited selection of phase types, with this device you can easily just "dial-in" whatever combination of characteristics seems to work best, from a range of something like over a hundred possibilities – truly, an "Experimenter's Dream"!!!
Of course, it also works well with a wide range of ordinary "dry" type objectives, too. And, as all this is "done with mirrors" (plus some optics) the selected objective can be easily and instantly switched back into its normal operating mode, if desired. Furthermore, no physical modifications of any kind are required to the objectives to be used.
Now, although the unit was designed to work only with Infinity type optics, it has been shown that it is also capable of performing its "magic" with a fairly wide range of finite objectives as well. So far, testing with Water Immersion has been limited to the LOMO 40x/0.75 Achromat and 70x.1.23 Apo, with both types tested successfully with and without using a coverslip and, of course, Water Immersion.
The next step, as soon as time permits, will be to integrate a photo port for a digital camera to permit recording some of the actual test results. Then we may see just what kind of images our "Magic Phase Contrast Machine" is capable of…

There's nothing quite like a set of impressive [hopefully] color photos to help liven up a stale old Blog! 

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Shown above: Schematic of the AO Polanret Optical System (reproduced from AO Polanret brochure):

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