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World's smallest microscope? (III)

In the two previous issues of our magazine we had presented a tiny, half-thumb sized pocket microscope. In contrast to other tiny instruments it has no slide slits, no way to insert a glass slide. So the question remained how this microscope might be used outside?

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Fig. 1: On the left side we have a classical KOSMOS pocket microscope with side slits and an inserted glass slide. On the right side is the instrument under investigation, obviously too small to incorporate a glass slide.

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Fig. 2: The tiny instrument is made up of two concentric tubes. Its upper tube houses the optics (as shown in April) whereas the lower tube is fitted with a fixed glass stage for transmitted light. Please note that there is also a frosted glass ring as a centering aid.

In this case the procedure is quite easy: a small droplet of sample liquid is transferred to the frosted glass ring area by means of a pipette. When the upper tube is put back in its position the droplet makes contact between the optics and the glass stage. Fine focus adjustment is managed by additional vertical shift movement.

Just for comparison we would like to present a different solution, again without slide slits (see fig. 3), The MIFALU microscope has a simple wooden specimen table (left side of fig. 5).

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Fig. 3: The MIFALU, a modest pocket microscope of the 1920s, comes without slide slits as well.

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Fig. 4: The two main components of the MIFALU. On the left side we can see the substage which can serve in parallel as a low-magnifying loupe, on the right side the higher magnifying upper part with the microscope optics.

The upper part can be dismantled further (see fig. 5) and is revealing an incorporated circular (!) glass slide, simply placed above the wooden ring support:

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Fig. 5: The dismantled upper part of the MIFALU, with a circular slide.

In this case one could work with a simple drop and without any cover glass. But in the end we decided to use a circular cover glass as well and did get quite good results on this (modern) pathway.

© Text, images and video clips by  Martin Mach  (webmaster@baertierchen.de).
The Water Bear web base is a licensed and revised version of the German language monthly magazine  Bärtierchen-Journal . Style and grammar amendments by native speakers are warmly welcomed.

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