Tag Archives: Microscope

3D Printed Clip-On Turns Any Smartphone To A Household Microscope.

Smartphone microscope as the name implies is basically a microscope which is compatible with a user’s smartphone. They mostly made up of a soft pliable lens and uses the smartphone’s camera. Smartphone microscopes have been in existence before, they are based on the use of external LEDs and usually get powered from an external source, these attachments have been quite larger and more cumbersome than the phone itself, but a group of Australian researchers has developed a microscope attachment that doesn’t require an additional power supply or external light sources which is actually based on 3D printed material alone.

The Researchers from the ARC Center of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) have developed a 3D printable “clip-on” that will allow anyone to turn their smartphone into a fully functional microscope. Thinking about the weight and cost of the pre-existing smartphone microscopes, they have made a dual-mode mobile phone microscope which uses the onboard camera flash and natural light present at the scene where the microscope is to be used. If a sample is placed two focal lengths in front of the objective lens, an image is formed two focal lengths behind the tube lens.

The invention of this microscope will make sure that people unable to afford pre-existing microscopes due to the cost of the external electrical appliances to be added during assembly can now work on their research as long they have a smartphone and the 3D printable microscope. They can examine different samples ranging from plant cells to animal cells. The smartphone microscope’s design consists of a 1x magnification imaging system that is created by placing a mobile phone camera lens in front of the mobile phone’s internal phone camera module.

The difference between the 3D printable microscope and other smartphone microscopes is the illumination system of the 3D microscope since it has been designed with internal illumination tunnels. The entrance of the tunnel is placed over the camera flash. Light from the camera flash travels through the first tunnel, reflects diffusely off of the end of the tunnel and then travels back into another tunnel that is aligned to the optical axis of the objective lens and camera module.

This 3D printed based microscope has the ability to work in two different modes: the brightfield and darkfield imaging modes respectively. During the bright field mode, the microscope creates diffuse transmission illumination without the aid of an external reflective object behind the sample thereby reducing weight and cost procured upon the addition of an external electrical object. However darkfield imaging is made possible when the ambient light illuminates the sample using the sample’ glass slide. The microscope attachment is capable of viewing objects as small as 1/200th of a millimeter, making it significantly more effective than its more predecessors.

The 3D printers microscope needs only one assembly step and can be used by anyone with access to a 3D printer as the microscope clip can be printed using most makers set of 3D printers. You can get the 3D designs here if you are interested in printing out your own.

Make Your Own Laser Scanning Microscope

A laser scanning microscope (LSM) is an optical imaging technique for increasing optical resolution and contrast of micrographs. It permits a wide range of qualitative and quantitative measurements on difficult samples, including topography mapping, extended depth of focus, and 3D visualization.

A laser microscope works by shining a beam of light on a subject in an X-Y plane. The intensity of the reflected light is then detected by a photoresistor (LDR) and recorded. When the various points of light are combined, you get an image.

Venkes had built his own DIY laser scanning microscope with a DVD pick-up, an Arduino Uno, a laser, and a LDR. He had also published an A-Z tutorial about making a similar device.

The result image consists of 256×256 pixels with resolution of 200 nm, about 1300 time enlargement, and it will not cost you a lot because you may have most of the parts. However, the scanning process is a bit slow, it may need half an hour for one image, and it is not crispy sharp.

The parts needed for this DIT LSM are:

  • 2 lens/coil parts of a laser pick-up (DVD and/or CD)
  • a bit of PCB
  • a piece if UTP cable (approx 15cm)
  • An Arduino UNO
  • An LDR
  • 2 x 10uF capacitors
  • 1 x 220 Ohm resistor
  • 1 x 10k resistor
  • 1 x 10k pot
  • 1 x 200 Ohm trim potentiometer
  • 1 breadboard
  • 1 switch
  • 1 3,5 mm jack plug
  • 1 audio amplifier
  • 1 laser with a good collimating lens
  • 1 piece of glass, a quarter of a microscope object glass or so to act as a semipermeable mirror
  • The under part of a ballpoint casing to put the LDR in

For the software side, an Arduino sketch is used to steer the lens, to read the LDR values, and to send information to a Processing sketch which will receive the data and translate it into an image.

You can find more details of this project with the source files at the project’s Instructables page. This video shows the device in action:

DIY PCB inspection microscope

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Saulius made a DIY PCB inspection microscope and wrote a post on his blog about it:

Despite how good microscope you have, stand is still very important part of final assembly. And while there are many commercial ones made of cast iron, they might cost more than a microscope head itself. I decided to make stand from wildly available material laying around – it’s MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). Advantages – stable over time if not exposed to water, dirt cheap, easy to process.

DIY PCB inspection microscope – [Link]

ARPM: Another Raspberry Pi Microscope

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Dr H @ instructables.com build a Raspberry Pi based microscope using a WaveShare B-camera and plexiglass parts. He writes:

Based on the RPI camera and LEGO brick-based microscope I presented earlier ( A-Raspberry-Pi-camera-based-microscope-built-from- LEGO ) I have constructed a similar microscope build from Plexiglas parts. So you may build your microscope even w/o having a LEGO collection. What is missing so far is the adjustment gears of the LEGO version.

The maximum resolution is about 5 µm/pixel. On high resolution only a small area will be in focus and you will see an effect called chromatic abberation.

Below you will find a description of the device and the information required to build one on your own.

ARPM: Another Raspberry Pi Microscope – [Link]

EEVblog #796 – Leica DVM6 3D Microscope

Dave checked out the Leica DVM6 3D microscope at the Electronex 2015 stand.
It’s an $80000 microscope that can do automated 3D surface mapping and measurements of surfaces, down to sub 1 micron.

EEVblog #796 – Leica DVM6 3D Microscope – [Link]