May 2010 Archives

2010 Image Contest : FEI Company

I'm sure the owners of FEI instruments will be doing their best to create amazing images and show how their images are superior to the Zeiss users.

Carl Zeiss Nano Image Contest 2010

If anyone has time for some summer fun, and if you have a Zeiss electron or ion microscope handy, you could enter your work in their Nano Image Contest! I'm looking forward to seeing what amazing images come out of the contest.

Sedimentologists use many properties of individual sediment particles to help determine the environment that the sediments were deposited from. By examining the micro-scale surface morphology of particles of quartz it is possible to infer if that grain was deposited in an aeolian (wind), glacial (ice), or fluvial (river) environment as a couple of examples. Quartz is most commo9nly used because it is both abundant (most abundant mineral in the earth's crust) and resistant to weathering (so it retains microfeatures and is preserved in sedimentary rocks). This is extermely useful information to a sedimentologist.

But what do you do when you are trying to study environments with very few quartz grains? Well, a group from Massey University have done preliminary work to show that magnetite may be an adequate substitute for quartz. They observed features on magentite particles from glacial moraine deposits that are very similar to features on quartz particles from the same environments. While there are some inconsistencies between quartz and magnetite, it is a good preliminary study showing the potential to use another mineral to do this kind of analysis.

SEM/EDS-Analysis in Art History

A quick read on a case study on the use of SEM and EDS analysis of historical paintings was recently put up by Imaging & Microscopy. The analysis of paint pigments by light microscopy is a powerful application in the field of art history and conservation. Bay adding SEM and EDS analysis it is possible to add even more information about the use of various pigments and help understand the painting styles of significant artists. Also, from a historical perspective it is useful to track the trade in certain materials across cultures and geographies. But, perhaps most importantly, it is possible to detect fraudulent or counterfeit art before it goes to auction and ends up on display as an original work.

Moth wings by SEM

Interesting paper just put out in Microscopy Research and Technique. I'm no entomologist, but I do know that certain species of insects look different when imaged using non-visible wavelengths of light (UV or IR). This paper shows how the silk moth species Antheraea assamensis actually does it. The moths were imaged using UV photography, then the wing scales were imaged using SEM. Based on the SEM observation of the scale morphology the authors explained the optical properties and showed how the mating behavior changed under different lighting conditions.

ASPEX "Name That Sample" Contest

Looks like the folks at ASPEX have got a good thing going with their "Name That Sample" contest and have started up Week 4!

The last image was a Halls Cough drop and wrapper and produced hundreds of guesses so the interest looks strong, hopefully it is translating into sales.

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