When you go inside a science laboratory, one of the most common lab instruments that you can easily find is microscopes. When you first heard the word, you might have asked yourself, what is a microscope?
A microscope is an instrument that can be used to observe small objects, even cells. The image of an object is magnified through at least one lens in the microscope. This lens bends light toward the eye and makes an object appear larger than it is. It is a tool used to see small things bigger and study them better. It made a lot of scientific breakthroughs as it enabled man to see a new perspective on the microscopic world.
Fundamentally, a metallurgical microscope is a high-powered microscope especially used for the means of viewing and studying opaque objects, (objects which light cannot pass through). These types of microscopes are distinct from biological microscopes, as biological ones use light to pass through objects for better viewing of the specimen, while the metallurgical microscopes use a specific principle, called “reflected light microscopy”. This principle makes it optimal and suited for viewing metallurgical samples, as well as a variety of other opaque objects.
The metallurgical microscope is categorized by different types depending on the configuration and the functions.
When talking about configuration, there are three types of metallurgical microscopes. Here are they:
Student Metallurgical Microscopes
This is the most common type of microscope. This type of microscope comes with a built-in incline adjustment, with the course and fine motion. Usually, they also come with a stand as well as the variable light-control transformer in addition to several optics, such as the M10x, and the M45x (SL) Eye Piece. While some of these microscopes are binocular, most of them are using monocular and also a bright-field horizontal illuminator which allows the user to be able to attach filters.
Bench-top metallurgical microscopes are a more advanced type of microscope. They are typically used for reliable, enhanced, and quick assessment of the metallurgical properties of the object. With this, results will be more accurate. They are used on the bench, working bench to be specific, and usually come with some important features including a manually revolving nosepiece, a tilting binocular tube, and simple polarized light. These microscopes may weigh heavier, weighing about 10kg, which allows them to gain more stability when it is being used.
Research Metallurgical Microscope
This type of metallurgical microscope is usually more advanced than others. Usually, the majority of these microscopes come with either a trinocular, binocular, or monocular head which allows for additional attachments, such as a camera and others.
A good example of a research metallurgical microscope is the Olympus GX71, which comes with a versatile, modular inspired design, and is used for methods ranging from bright field observations to darkfield observations.
The Olympus is a more advanced microscope. Tt allows for enhanced flexibility depending on the needs of the user by implementing such features as a built-in magnification changer. A super wide field observation, as well as motorization, allows for enhanced efficiency.
The motorized components of a research metallurgical microscope are particularly important. It is because it is efficient for both your budget and time- cuts costs and saves time when the samples under investigation are too many. This is because some specified components, such as the motorized filter wheel and the automated scanning stage support the process.
Furthermore, metallurgical microscopes are also categorized into two different types regarding their physical features. These are:
Semi-conductor Metallurgical Microscopes
This type of metallurgical microscope has some features that make it distinct. One of the most unique features of the semi-conductor metallurgical microscopes is that they have a very unusual big stage, as well as a bigger throat depth, which allows the microscope to accommodate samples of a wide variety of sizes.
Advanced models of the microscope come with many important features. These are the 4 plan achromatic objectives, incident darkfield, and DIC illumination, all of which allow the user to gain an overall better viewing experience, even of small and fine details of the specimen. This type of microscope also comes with polarized light and filters (the upright type of microscope).
- Upright microscopes
- Inverted microscopes
With that being said, let’s dive deeper into each of the different types.
Inverted Metallurgical Microscopes
Just like the semi-conductor microscope, this type of microscope also has different features that make it unique. One of the distinctive features of the inverted microscopes is that they come with an effective light system, mounted beneath the platform. This allows light to pass through the objectives, to the specimen, and back to the eyepiece through the use of reflection. One of the biggest advantages of this microscope is that it allows much larger samples to be viewed, which the upright microscope cannot accommodate.
This makes them excellent to use in many fields involved in engineering and manufacturing, where the microscope serves to investigate cracks or corrosion of fractures. Some of the common features of inverted microscopes include a DIC option, adjustable intensity control, a diopter as well as plan achromatic infinity-corrected objectives.
Upright Metallurgical Microscopes
One of the distinctive features of upright metallurgical microscopes from the other types is that the illumination system is located above the sample stage, which allows light to be directed onto the sample and back to the eyepieces.
The microscope may come with a pillar stand or the typical base stand depending on the needs of the user. For instance, whereas the typical base stand allows for more stability of the microscope to be used for relatively small samples, the pillar stand allows for enhanced flexibility allowing for different sized samples to be viewed.