World's smallest microscope? (II)
Meanwhile we received some hints to a serious microscope-tinyness competitor.
It is called "Microscope Gaudin" and shown on a fabulous website called
run by Albert Balasse. In fact, the Microscope Gaudin features a height of 2.4 cm, thus being
3 mm lower than the Leitz Algensucher. On the other hand the Microscope Gaudin
has a rather broad top flap making it bigger in volume ;-).
But seriously, both of them are really small instruments.
We had promised to present the Leitz Algensucher in more detail and will
continue on this pathway:
Fig. 1: The Leitz "Algensucher",
an extremely tiny transmitted light microcope. Height 27.1 mm, maximum
diameter 20 mm, diameter at base level ca. 16 mm. Weight 19.8 g
We had already shown the minute eye-lens previously:
One of the world's smallest eye-lens openings - measuring merely 0.72 mm!
Now let's look at the backside of the eye-lens which is cleanly fitted in a brass housing:
Fig. 3: This is the complete optical system,
as seen from the inside. Minimalistic microscopy! The free diameter of the (bigger) object-oriented lens side
is measuring ca. 2.7 mm. The eye-side opening becomes
visible in this perspective as well (appearing as a smaller bright disc).
Due to the small entry iris much of the critical side rays are cut off and a
better overall image quality is reached.
The geometry of the lens is hemisperical. On the basis
of an assumed total diameter of 3 mm and a height of 1.5 mm a magnification of roughly
100x can be expected - which is clearly within in the Leeuwenhoek liga.
As microscopists you will be interested in the practical outcome and usefulness.
In order to clarify this point we prepared a photomicrograph of an Amaryllis pollen specimen
as seen through the Algensucher:
Fig. 4: Amaryllis pollen,
as seen through the Leitz "Algensucher" mini microscope.
Camera: Sony Nex-5N, illumination by means of a transparency viewer
(as a background illumination). These pollen particles can serve as a kind
of ruler or calibration scale because their length is close to 0.1 mm
(whereas typical tardigrades range
between 0.3 and 0.5 mm in length).
Of course we can compare this image quality with the
one gained by means of a standard benchtop microcope:
Fig. 5: Amaryllis pollen,
photographed through a standard benchtop microscope equipped with a 20x/N.A. 0.65 objective
The big microscope is delivering a better overall
image quality, but the perceivable object characteristics look about the same as in fig. 4.
Still there are two important questions remaining:
(1) How to prepare the samples when taking into account that the tiny Algensucher
housing apparently has no side slits for slides?
(2) What would be the visual impression when looking at a tardigrade?
Please stay tuned. We will come up with answers in the June issue.
© Text, images and video clips by
Martin Mach (email@example.com).
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