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Engineering LibreTexts

10.7: Summary

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    • The optical microscope is a very useful tool for the observation of materials and can be used to gain valuable information about a large variety of specimens. Some knowledge of the material and the information that is required is essential to determine the best techniques to employ when preparing and examining specimens.
    • Sample preparation is a critical part of microscopy, as this determines the quality of the images produced. Many techniques, when correctly applied to a specimen, can enhance the information present.
    • One of the limitations of the optical microscope is that of resolution. High resolution imaging is more commonly carried out in a scanning electron microscope (SEM).
    • In addition, for 'transparent' specimens, in particular those of anisotropic materials, polarised light microscopy can offer large benefits, with high contrast possible.

    Going further


    R.C. Gifkins, Optical microscopy of metals, Pitman, 1970
    R Haynes, Optical microscopy of materials, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1984
    Eugene Hecht, Optics, Addison Wesley, 2001


    Molecular Expressions Microscopy Primer - a site with a lot of information about microscopy including pages on polarised light microscopy

    See techniques for optical microscopy for more information about different kinds of microscopy.

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