Tool Kit: Microscopy Tools

Here are twelve instruments to help with your microscopy tasks.

The CRAIC Elixir is a multifunctional, cost-effective solution for trace evidence analysis from CRAIC Technologies. The full-featured, flexibly configured instrument offers a host of microanalysis capabilities all as part of a single instrument: absorbance, reflectance, and Raman microspectroscopy; glass refractive index measurements; high-resolution color imaging; polarization and fluorescence microspectroscopy and imaging. To learn more, go to:

The extensive line of Dino-Lite portable digital microscopes and eyepiece cameras provide high-quality microscopy video interfacing to PC and Mac operating systems with clear and steady imaging. Most models provide 10x-200x magnification and resolutions of up to 2592 x 1944 px, along with a multitude of software features. The included DinoCapture software makes it easy to take snapshots, record videos, manipulate images, save, and email discoveries.

The ShuttlePix P-400R Digital Microscope from Nikon Metrology is a portable digital microscope that has a sleek, compact design well suited for onsite use. This new concept in digital microscopy allows for much simpler remote inspection of large samples. Operators can use the ShuttlePix for inspection, observation, simple measurement, and recording of high-resolution images where an object needs to be inspected on site and in situ without risk of damage.

The SPOT Pursuit USB digital camera from SPOT Imaging Solutions combines superb image quality with excellent temporal resolution for rapid time-lapse recordings, allowing researchers to document live cells and photobleaching fluorescence specimens with ease. The camera is equipped with a high quantum efficiency CCD sensor and Peltier cooling, which makes it a suitable solution for a range of applications, from simple fluorescence documentation to the demanding process of live cell imaging. The camera achieves high-speed acquisition rates of 11 frames per second at full resolution without sacrificing read noise.

Leeds Spectral Vision System (LSV) is a multi-wavelength viewing and imaging device used to highlight bodily fluids, trace evidence, accelerants, explosives, and gunshot residue on various types of samples. With its freely rotating gimble system, the LSV offers over 59 in. of horizontal extension and 40 in. of vertical height adjustment, allowing for effortless coverage of a large piece of evidence. The LSV was designed with direct input from the forensic community.

The BX53 from McCrone Microscopes & Accessories provides advanced modularity to suit a variety of observation styles. The rigid, space-saving frame features forward-mounted, easy-to-operate controls for improved efficiency and greater operator comfort. New operator controls are accessible from either side of the microscope, and an ECO sensor automatically turns off the transmitted light when the operator is not seated at the microscope. The BX53 offers a range of accessories and objectives to satisfy any microscopist.

PIFOC positioners belong to PI’s piezo driven-high-resolution microscope stage product line. The compact objective nanofocusing devices provide a nanometer resolution and very fast response. PIFOC positioners are used in 3D microscopy, super resolution microscopy, or in any type of application where very high Z resolution is required. Units are available with travel ranges up to 1 mm. An extra-large aperture of 29 mm is available for high-resolution applications.

The Auto-Focus Mighty Scope from Aven, Inc. has a continuous focusing mode that keeps a product or specimen in sharp view automatically, even as working distance and magnification change. The compact microscope is as simple to use as an automatic point-and-shoot camera. Optical magnification is adjustable to 80x, or 320x on a 22-in. monitor via USB connection. Enlarged images of fibers, stains, shell casings, shoeprints, or tire tread portions can be captured for digital records.

Titan Tool model TSZM-6 stereo zoom microscope provides a complete magnification range of 7x to 160x as a base unit for $699. Used in forensic applications such as fingerprint examination, bullet casings analysis, and re-magnification of objects for 3D viewing, it features a 0.7x to 4x zoom range and 5.7 zoom ratio with crisp images over the entire zoom range. It has a 45° inclined binocular optical tubes that can be rotated for 55-85 mm inter-pupillary adjustment.

ASAP-1 IPS Digital Preparation System from ULTRA TEC allows decapsulation, die thinning, and polishing of electronic devices—whether in package, module, smart card, or other encapsulated forms. ASAP-1 IPS offers sub-micron accuracy in all axes, making precision micro-surgery possible for devices of all types and size. “Always live” machine vision offers user confidence and high success rates on small batches. ASAP-1 IPS is CNC-based, with touchscreen programming and physical joystick and controls: the best of both worlds.

Sample backlog and shrinking budgets can have an impact on today’s forensic laboratories. The EXplorer with GSR reporter from ASPEX, an FEI Company, is an automated system for GSR particle detection that can run up to 30 samples continuously or even overnight. This integrated system combines SEM-EDX technology with automated particle counting to provide forensics professionals with the throughput they need. OmegaMax EDS technology allows even faster reporting with proprietary technology that enables labs to meet sample load demands.

The Hitachi SU3500 SEM is a variable-pressure instrument that allows real-time 3D imaging, a new low-aberration objective lens, and improved gun-biasing capability that yields increased emissions—resulting in unparalleled image quality at several crucial acceleration voltage levels. The introduction of the innovative Ultra Variable-Pressure Detector (UVD) allows for viewing surface details at lower voltages; when combined with the BSE and SE detectors, it yields detailed surface information. Multiple vacuum settings allows fast imaging of non-conductive samples.

View this article in its original format in our March-April 2013 Digital Edition


< Prev   Next >

Recovering Latent Fingerprints from Cadavers

IN A HOMICIDE CASE, the recovery of latent impressions from a body is just one more step that should be taken in the process of completing a thorough search. This article is directed at crime-scene technicians and the supervisors who support and direct evidence-recovery operations both in the field and in the controlled settings of the medical examiner’s office or the morgue under the coroner’s direction.