darnoconrad

Chemistry: Tools

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I was thinking about buying a microscope but maybe some other tools as well.

Can anyone recommend a microscope for a beginner, or a good one that will be useful for a long time?

What about a USB microscope? Because I would much rather be able to save the images I look at through the microscope and blow them up on my big monitor instead of look at them through a tiny hole and not be able to document them. Preferably one that can magnify a lot without relying on digital magnification.

How about a USB electron microscope?

Or a USB Spectroscope?

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I was thinking about buying a microscope but maybe some other tools as well.

Can anyone recommend a microscope for a beginner, or a good one that will be useful for a long time?

What about a USB microscope? Because I would much rather be able to save the images I look at through the microscope and blow them up on my big monitor instead of look at them through a tiny hole and not be able to document them. Preferably one that can magnify a lot without relying on digital magnification.

How about a USB electron microscope?

Or a USB Spectroscope?

I got hundreds of good hits using Google. type in <microscope usb connection>

ruveyn

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I have looked through amazon/google and have read a bunch of reviews. But there are a lot of choices and I was hoping some people from this forum could provide some suggestions based on their experience.

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What do you want to look at and what does this have to do with chemistry? Do you just want to play with a magnifying glass connected to your computer or do you want to do serious microscopy or spectography and signal analysis? You are not going to be able to see crystal, molecular or atomic structure or analyze complex emission and absorption spectra with a home microscope. A cheap usb 'electron microscope' does not mean a scanning electron microscope.

Understanding how the lens system and other features of microscopes work and what the imaging limitations are can be very complex and requires a lot of physical optics and mathematics (it's not simple high school geometric ray tracing). That is true whether you are interested in conventional microscopes or microscopes with CCD sensors producing digital images -- they both use optical lens systems designed for required resolving power and field sizes taking into account the wave nature of light and aberrations.

If you know what you want to look at for what purpose you can specify the optical requirements to find a microscopic without knowing much optics, but you at least need to know what you want to do with it, whatever the level of sophistication. Maybe you should be looking at educational experiment kits designed for learning, where the manufacturer can tell you what it's intended to guide you through.

If you want to understand the basics of microscopes read something like the old introductory guide published by the Zeiss optics and instrumentation company: Microscopy from the very beginning by Mollring (But there is nothing about computer images and data analysis in that -- it stops at putting a film camera on a microscope eyepiece.) To learn more about the optics you would have to wait until you know the required mathematics and physics.

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