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Ranunculus pollen mounted in air, with cover glass.

The importance of mounting medium refractive index

The refractive indes (RI) of the mounting medium can have a significant impact on the image quality.



size calculation

Determining Size in Microscopic Images

Our Biology curriculum in school requires students to be able to calculate the size of cells and other structures from light micrographs, which have a scale bar. It’s probably more interesting for students to actually take the light micrographs themselves. It is not difficult to determine the size of cells and other structures in light […]



Air bubbles under the microscope

How to prevent Air Bubbles in Wet Mounts

The statistics feature of my blogging software allows me to see what readers are searching for, and one of the questions that keeps reappearing over and over again is the question on how to prevent air bubbles in wet mounts. I have already published a video on how to correctly make a wet mount (temporary […]



Testing the Hand Microtome

A few days ago I ordered a microtome. Here is a video showing you the different parts: Now it’s time to test the device. The first sample is a carrot. It can be cut into the right shape to fit into the specimen holder of the microtome and it is sufficiently solid to allow for […]



Parts of a Microtome

Here I’m unpacking my new hand microtome and explaining the different parts. A hand microtome (or cylinder microtome) is a device used to make thin cuts of a specimen for microscopic observations. The video briefly illustrates the different parts of a hand microtome.



Making a wet mount microscope slide

This post explains how to make a wet mount. Video included!



Fixing specimens for making permanent slides

Before specimens can be processed for making permanent slides, they may need to be fixed. This step kills the specimen and preserves the structures. It also prepares the specimen for staining. There is no one single method to fix a specimen, too much depends on the nature of the specimen itself and on the subsequent […]



Making a wet mount for microscopy

A wet mount (or temporary mount) is one of the most common ways of observing specimens under the microscope. The sample to be viewed floats in a layer of water which is between the slide and the cover glass. The water performs an important optical function. Without it, the resolution is lower. The general procedure […]



Making mounts of pollen grains

Permanent slides of pollen grains can be used as a reference for identifying unknown pollen samples. It is therefore important, that the pollen grains remain in an authentic, natural shape. The preparation and mounting of the pollen can introduce artifacts: the pollen may lose some of its pigment, start to shrink and shrivel or absorb […]



Choosing the right mounting medium for making permanent slides

There are numerous different mounting media available for making permanent slides. What factors determine the choice of the mounting medium? Here are some possible points to consider. Toxicity: Solvent-based mounting media (such as Eukitt and Canada Balsam) require the specimen to be in xylene prior to embedding. This substance is toxic. Other mounting media, such […]



Introductory Microscopy Projects for Schools

Are you looking for simple microscopy projects for classrooms? Here is a list of ideas. Do not forget about safety measures!



Microscope Slides and Cover Glasses

This post gives an overview over common microscope slides and cover glass standards.



Making a Soil Culture for Growing Algae

It may be necessary to grow large amounts of green algae (and other microorganisms) to be used for microscopic observations in schools. A soil culture allows you to enrich various types of algae.



Processing Specimens for Microscopy

Not all microscopic specimens can be observed directly with a compound microscope, many of them need to be brought into a form which is suitable for observation. Different specimens have to be processed differently. This article gives an overview of different preparation methods.



Observing Leaf Stomata

It is possible to observe the impression of leaf epidermis cells on white wood glue. The stomata and guard cells are easily visible. The regular shape of the stomata makes it an ideal specimen for practicing drawing.

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