Slides and Coverslips

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Slides and Coverslips

#1 Post by JGardner » Thu May 31, 2018 7:42 pm

What's a good source for blank slides and coverslips? Most of the non-specialty stores seem to stock only AmScope slides, which I suspect aren't the best quality.

Do most amateurs tend to clean and reuse slides, or toss them after every use? Does it make sense to buy good quality slides for everyday use and better slides for making permanent mounts?

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Re: Slides and Coverslips

#2 Post by 75RR » Thu May 31, 2018 8:21 pm

Cover slips are more critical than slides

You will find that most objectives are designed to cope with 0.17mm cover slips
The higher the NA of the objective the more critical is any deviation from the cover slip specification.

I would suggest that you purchase a micrometer that can measure down to 0.002mm They are not overly expensive, last for ever and will be an eye opener when you start measuring your cover slips.

I reuse slides until I break them and cover slips until the scratches drive me crazy. ... /index.htm ... ction.html ... flash.html
Micrometer-mm.jpg (319.16 KiB) Viewed 2129 times
Last edited by 75RR on Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Slides and Coverslips

#3 Post by desertrat » Thu May 31, 2018 8:43 pm

Re: Sources for quality slides, I have a box of Chinese made slides for amateur use. The glass is thick, there are blemishes, and the slides aren't even rectangular. The ends are cut at slightly different angles, so they look like trapezoids.

You can get good professional quality slides at Electron Microscopy Sciences. Some of the big lab supply companies would probably sell them to you, since they aren't chemicals. The minimum order might be 50 to 100 dollars or more.

I bought a large lot of Gold Seal slides on Ebay, professional quality, that had been stored for many years. Even though they were labelled as precleaned, and the factory seals were intact on the boxes, they were hard to pry apart and both surfaces were covered with a thin, uneven layer of white powder. This dissolved easily in dilute vinegar and left the slides clean, but both surfaces were covered with an uneven, blotchy, extremely thin layer of tarnish similar to the "bloom" that can be seen on antique, uncoated photographic lenses. I suspect this was the result of long storage, and the slides probably didn't have this problem when they were new.

This layer can only be seen in reflection when the slides are held at a certain angle to the light source. They transmit light like a new slide, but some owners might be put off by tarnished surfaces. If you want nice looking slides of the correct thickness, your best bet would probably be new, recently manufactured slides from a lab supply company like Electron Microscopy Sciences.

I like to use round coverslips for permanent mounts in Canada balsam. I bought the Chinese made coverslips available on Ebay and they seem to be OK except for occasional tiny scratches near the edges and occasionally a few tiny blemishes. The round Amscope coverslips are probably from the same manufacturer. You can get name brand coverslips from the lab supply companies at higher cost.

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Re: Slides and Coverslips

#4 Post by Charles » Thu May 31, 2018 8:54 pm

For general use, I use Fisher brand and for permanent slides, I use Globe brand slides off of ebay. THe Globe slides come with ground edges and clipped corners. ... itleDesc=0

The coverslips I get off ebay also. ... Swq~tZPYIo

I reuse my slides and coverslips.
Last edited by Charles on Thu May 31, 2018 10:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Slides and Coverslips

#5 Post by Hobbyst46 » Thu May 31, 2018 9:54 pm

I buy slides made in Germany and they are very good, but need some cleaning although sold as "pre-cleaned".
Chinese cover slips are a gamble. Can be OK, can be stained and partially translucent. But they are extremely cheap.
I seldom reuse slides, and never reuse coverslips - my specimen output is low, and the waste of time (and water) is not worth it IMO.
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Re: Slides and Coverslips

#6 Post by Crater Eddie » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:43 pm

I too like the Globe slides. I clean and reuse slides and slips many times.
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Re: Slides and Coverslips

#7 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:40 pm

To add to my previous reply:
Just today I opened a box of Chinese coverslips (1.5USD per a box of 100 18x18 slips) from a local supplier. It is the second time that I buy Chinese coverslips, and again they are stained white or foggy, need thorough cleaning with alcohol, and even after that they look somehow stained. So I will look for better quality next time.
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Re: Slides and Coverslips

#8 Post by MicroBob » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:22 pm

Hi together!

I would like to add two points:

1. For permananent mounts ist is advisable to use good quality round cover slips - much easier to get a good looking slide!
75RR showed a micrometer and this is really a useful buy. One would eypect that nowadays quality control offers cover slips of perfect thickness. In reality you get what drops from the production band in some cases! For a diatom mount it would be really bad if the cover slip it much over 0,17mm. I have one bought chinese cover slips from China that had a thickness of up to 0,25mm!
From reputable dealers you get the specified quality. It would make sense to combine orders and buy over someone that they actually like to supply. :?

2. Glass has a tendency to degrade. The surface is pitted then and the quality is severely harmed. Cover slips are made from glass that has more resistance against this degradation than slides. When there is a layer of paper between the slides or they are stored in alcohol they don't degrade as much.
The glass components of finished slides don't degrade much when stored in slide boxes. I don't have a proper explanation for this but this is the outcome. It has to do with hydrolysis resistance of the glass type.


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Re: Slides and Coverslips

#9 Post by coominya » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:31 pm

JGardner wrote:What's a good source for blank slides and coverslips?
Ebay, as always I think. I bought some made in the USA ones down here in Australia from a local supplier. Would be a lot easier where you are though.

I'm totally "over" chinese product. It seems to be getting worse and worse as time passes. Not in everything of course, but certainly as a general rule.

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