Fusing glass slides

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wstenberg
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Fusing glass slides

#1 Post by wstenberg » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:53 pm

Anybody have any experience fusing microscope slides together to make a little glass box, like a mini-aquarium? Can't glue it together because it will have strong solvents inside that will destroy adhesives or sealer.

There are places that will custom-manufacture something like this, but the cost is many hundreds of dollars. And we don't quite have the design perfect- so we want to experiment a little. I tried heating some glass slides with a propane torch... The edges stick together, but then it cracks- it probably needs annealing- but I'm not sure of just how I should do it.

Any help or ideas appreciated!!!
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#2 Post by MicroBob » Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:10 am

Hi William,
you might soften a ball of glass and press a trapezoidal shape into the ball. The result would be a squashed ball with a basin inside it. The side angles would have to be flat so the tool moves out when the glass cools and shrinks. Maybe you can find a material for the tool with a higher thermal expansion coefficient than glass. The bottom will not be perfectly even though.

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Re: Fusing glass slides

#3 Post by Scarodactyl » Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:44 am

I wonder if this is something you could do with a microforge. I see them for sale on eBay (since they have microscopes attached) and apparently they were used for some sort of fine glasswork. Might be a good excuse to pick up another scope....

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Re: Fusing glass slides

#4 Post by 75RR » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:50 am

Have you considered a polymer rather than glass?

https://tedpella.com/technote_html/2602 ... 012013.pdf
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#5 Post by mnmyco » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:40 am

I once fused the bottom of a Pyrex jar to the top of a ceramic heater. I was converting sodium bicarbonate to sodium carbonate and forgot the thing on the highest setting. You could try putting glass water between the in slides, heat it until the water leaves creating hard silica and use a technique similar to stain glass making to seal edges of the slides and lock them in place?

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Re: Fusing glass slides

#6 Post by mrsonchus » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:42 am

I don't suppose some-sort of glass cuvette, perhaps even 'sawn-off', would be any use?
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#7 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:22 am

wstenberg wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:53 pm
Anybody have any experience fusing microscope slides together to make a little glass box, like a mini-aquarium? Can't glue it together because it will have strong solvents inside that will destroy adhesives or sealer.

There are places that will custom-manufacture something like this, but the cost is many hundreds of dollars. And we don't quite have the design perfect- so we want to experiment a little. I tried heating some glass slides with a propane torch... The edges stick together, but then it cracks- it probably needs annealing- but I'm not sure of just how I should do it.

Any help or ideas appreciated!!!
Is this glass box meant to serve as mini-aquarium, namely, to contain living organisms in water, under frequent or continuous survey on the microscope stage ? sort of a flow-cell or a static cell for microscopy ? if so, what strong solvents are expected (if it can be disclosed) ?
Fusing glass pieces together to create a parallel-wall structure without strain or bends and cracks would be difficult. Glass blowers favor Pyrex glass, not soda glass of which slides are ordinarily made.
Various glues vary in resistance to solvents as well as with their sealing properties. RTV is a good sealant but poorly resistant. Superglue lacks in both properties. I would try with either epoxy adhesives like Araldite (long-curing, not rapid), or perhaps the special adhesives made by Bison in the Nederlands. The latter glues are very strong, bond porcelain and other ceramics together very well and are heat resistant, and I think they might work - but again, what solvents are involved ?
Of course the potential release of toxic materials into the water is of concern.
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#8 Post by wstenberg » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:48 pm

Thank you everybody.
@Scarodactyl,I do like the idea of the mini forge with the attached microscope- I don't know if I would ever figure out how to use it, but it would be fun to try.

I've never used the glass water- interesting.

This is for the light sheet microscope. The proper containers are large cuvettes, Maybe about 55mm x 65mm and 25mm deep. They are made of some type of optical glass since the laser illumination has to pass through them. The imaging is through the open top of the container and doesn't pass through the glass. The lasers come in from the right and left sides and the image path comes out through the open top. They seem to break easily :(

These store-bought "cuvettes" are very expensive, and we are trying to modify them for samples not intended by the manufacturer, trying to prototype new designs. I tried acrylic sheet and polycarbonate sheet, but they fog up as the solvent degrades them. We are using organic solvents (to match the Refractive Index of various tissues), no living animals are in the solutions- just parts of their nervous system. There are places that will make custom cuvettes, but way too expensive for prototyping. Maybe it would be OK to spend the money once we come up with a final design.

I appreciate all of the suggestions. If I get it working, I'll post a picture.
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#9 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:03 pm

wstenberg wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:48 pm
This is for the light sheet microscope. The proper containers are large cuvettes, Maybe about 55mm x 65mm and 25mm deep. They are made of some type of optical glass since the laser illumination has to pass through them. The imaging is through the open top of the container and doesn't pass through the glass. The lasers come in from the right and left sides and the image path comes out through the open top. They seem to break easily :(

These store-bought "cuvettes" are very expensive, and we are trying to modify them for samples not intended by the manufacturer, trying to prototype new designs. I tried acrylic sheet and polycarbonate sheet, but they fog up as the solvent degrades them. We are using organic solvents (to match the Refractive Index of various tissues), no living animals are in the solutions- just parts of their nervous system. There are places that will make custom cuvettes, but way too expensive for prototyping. Maybe it would be OK to spend the money once we come up with a final design.
Thanks for exposing the details. Just two notes:
1. Organic solvents that fog the plastics are likely to damage your expensive (?) objectives by the same token - vapors... but you are probably aware of that.
2. I would try epoxy cement, although it is not TOTALLY resistant to solvents, it might withstand short-term exposures.
3. Alternatively, I would consult with Norland, they sell many variants of glass cements, and have a responsive customer service.
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#10 Post by MicroBob » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:17 pm

Hi William,
if i got that right, you need transparent walls left and right and an open top.
I would try to do this:
- rectangular piece of sheet metal 4mm thickness
- mill grooves 1,3mm
- mill or shape V-grooves (95°) 2,5mm
- bend sides upward
- glue in pieces of glass

In this case even a weakened glue can withstand the forces as the glass sides are held by the grooves.

See enclosed sketch.

Bob
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#11 Post by wstenberg » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:19 pm

@Hobbyst46,
Good ideas. I will look into that. We do use a protective nose cone over the objective when we are imaging. These objectives do cost a fortune!

I am including a photo of the cuvette on the microscope, as well as my attempt to make on of polycarbonate cuvette showing the clouding. Acrylic sheet was even worse.

I don't know anything about Norland. I will look them up.

Thanks again.
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#12 Post by wstenberg » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:23 pm

@MicroBob,
I think that's a winner.
It will also give me a chance to start up the CNC mill- I always enjoy spending the afternoon on the mill.
If I can do it, I'll post a photo...
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#13 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:37 pm

wstenberg wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:23 pm
...
MicroBob wrote:...
Just had another idea which might perhaps work, and does not use adhesive. The adhesive or sealant is the Achilles ankle of the above designs.
It is possible to wrap the slide with a flat Teflon tape (the white tape used for pipe sealing, cheaply available in hardware stores).
If a slide is wrapped with a defined length of tape, and pressed against the profile of another slide by means of a vice-like device, the tape may seal against solvents, provided that the vice is tightened.
The "vice" should be a sort of thin rectangular frame. Formed with miniature beams, nuts and bolts.
This is throwing out an idea, to evaluate perhaps ?
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#14 Post by MicroBob » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:00 pm

That is an ispirig idea, Doron.
When the upper edges of the glass sides are angled ca. 45° and a bit too long this would even allow to put pressure downwards onto the lower side.
In water and heating installations this teflon tape has not been able to take in the place of hemp though. It is not very elastic and less dependable in some cases.
Maybe a piece of O-ring material in the groove would be an option? There are O-rings of different types of rubber/silicone/whatever.

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Re: Fusing glass slides

#15 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:18 pm

MicroBob wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:00 pm
That is an ispirig idea, Doron.
When the upper edges of the glass sides are angled ca. 45° and a bit too long this would even allow to put pressure downwards onto the lower side.
In water and heating installations this teflon tape has not been able to take in the place of hemp though. It is not very elastic and less dependable in some cases.
Maybe a piece of O-ring material in the groove would be an option? There are O-rings of different types of rubber/silicone/whatever.
I agree, the better water pipe workers use hemp rather than Teflon tape. Either because they are versed with hemp (has been in use for ages) or, the threads on cheap galvanized-iron water pipes are often rough and there are burrs. So the hemp attaches to the thread by friction, whereas the Teflon tape is torn or split by the rough thread surface. Another reason is that there is sometime too much space between the female and male threads of the connecting pipes. Wet hemp fills the space, whereas with Teflon, you need to wrap round after round until half of the reel is consumed (and these professionals look at the cost as well, low as it seems to me).
By contrast, real amateurs (like me) use a Teflon tape for water pipes, because they have no hands-on experience with hemp.

Teflon tape is not elastic, it is plastic, so it is deformed under pressure and forms a cement-like seal - only that it is not cement... If properly wrapped around threads (NPT, BSP pipes, conical connections) it seals very well against liquids and gases. I believe it will seal against the chemicals used by wsternberg.
O-rings in the grooves of the frame you designed might work although the structure will be quite complex in my opinion. BUT only certain elastomers are solvent-resistant. Silicon rubber is out of the question. Nitrile rubber and Viton are generally OK. There are other very special fluorinated o-rings but they are less available in all sizes and cost a fortune (many tens of $$ apiece) so I would start with nitrile rubber or Viton. Some solvents, like chlorinated materials, could swell and degrade even those.
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#16 Post by MichaelG. » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:38 pm

wstenberg wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:48 pm

[…]
This is for the light sheet microscope. The proper containers are large cuvettes, Maybe about 55mm x 65mm and 25mm deep. They are made of some type of optical glass since the laser illumination has to pass through them. The imaging is through the open top of the container and doesn't pass through the glass. The lasers come in from the right and left sides and the image path comes out through the open top. They seem to break easily :(

These store-bought "cuvettes" are very expensive, […]
I’m late to the party, William ... but I suspect that those are probably made from fused-silica.

N.B. I am way out of my depth here, just fascinated by what you are doing.

MichaelG.
.

P.S. You are probably already aware of this paper:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10534-0
but the rest of us are playing catch-up.
Too many 'projects'

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Re: Fusing glass slides

#17 Post by MicroBob » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:08 pm

One point to consider would be what happens in case of spillage. Flamable and aggressive solvents in an expensive microscope - not good. Is there space for a second flat safety container?

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Re: Fusing glass slides

#18 Post by wstenberg » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:23 am

@MichaelG,
Thanks for the reference article. We're trying to do the some thing that they are with cleared mouse brains, only we are doing it upside down. Once we get the details worked out, we think it will be a big advantage. Our specimens are completely submersed in the organic liquids, our own special blend.

@MicroBob. In the photo you can see a little rubber tray beneath the cuvette on both sides. In theory, this should catch the fluid before it leaks in to the microscope.

Here's a link to a video done in our lab on this microscope.
https://vimeo.com/335493030?from=outro-embed
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#19 Post by PeteM » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:40 pm

A long shot, but sight glasses meant to check things like oil levels are made in hundreds of varieties. You might find some with a body resistant to your solvents and the glass portions sufficiently optically clear for the lasers. If so you machine a sort of valve body, threaded to take the glasses on either side. Should be super durable. Not much variety here, but provides an illustration

https://www.mcmaster.com/sight-glass-windows

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Re: Fusing glass slides

#20 Post by Glot » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:52 am

Have you approached an artistic glass worker. Many hobbyists out there would love the challenge

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Re: Fusing glass slides

#21 Post by wstenberg » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:14 am

Thanks to everyone for the help and ideas.
This wasn't really related to my hobby microscopes, but I thought it might be a problem of general interest to the group- and I certainly trust the judgement and experience of the folks here on the forum.

Re: sight glasses- I didn't know you could buy these. I made a bunch of them ten years ago; now I know I can just order them if I need them.

My boss finally agreed to order some chambers custom made from optical quartz. Expensive, but probably the easiest solution to this problem.
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#22 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:01 pm

wstenberg wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:14 am
My boss finally agreed to order some chambers custom made from optical quartz. Expensive, but probably the easiest solution to this problem.
Out of curiosity, it would be interesting to know how they created the leak-free quartz aquarium, if it can be disclosed.
Thanks in advance.
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#23 Post by wstenberg » Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:43 pm

I'm not sure how they are making the cuvettes. It's costing more than a few hundred dollars each, and we had to order ten of them. It must be quite a process.


Please look at he link below. It's very interesting to see the great variety of optical quartz products that they make. Some of them would have been very useful to me in the past, but I had no idea they were available.

https://bbnmaterial.en.made-in-china.co ... vette.html

I looked into some of the local glassblowers here in my city. They are more interested in making fancy smoking pipes than scientific apparatus. So I ordered a book on scientific glassblowing from Amazon, older version=cheap book. It is so interesting, but I don't need another hobby, and I don't think I'd ever get good enough at it to produce what I need. But, I was able to learn why you can't just heat microscope slides and stick them together without shattering upon cooling.
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Re: Fusing glass slides

#24 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:09 pm

Thanks for the info and link.
Interesting, they make standard 1cmx1cm cuvettes along with other sizes. Is that an established production line that was transferred to China or an original one...
Non-scientific glass blowers create pieces of art from soft soda-glass. Quartz was disliked by glass blowers as I recall.
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