A regular compound microscope can be customized to become a polarized microscope by adding a couple polarized filter (or polarizer lens) to the optical train, one below the specimen and the other above the specimen.
The arrangement is slightly different typical polarized light microscopes which place the analyzer above the objective but below the eyepiece. To test out my homemade polarized microscope, I broke the summerville lace agate apart to small pieces and picke up a few thin pieces and glued them to a microscope slide with nail polisher. Without fine diamond Lapidary tool, I end up pealing away upper layers of quatzs using the regular grinder but the agate is thin enough to appear transparent to allow me look at it under my microscope. To veiw the specimen, I turn the polarizer until the background turned nice and dark. I did another experiment by turning the polarizer approximately 90, 180, 270 and back to the original position again.
Notice that the background turned nice and dark again at 180 degree because the polymer of the polarizer runs in one direction. The direction of the compound now is the same as 0 degree.
No only the minerals, some biological materials also have birefringent property. I scraped some scales from American Lady Butterfly’s wing and put them under the polarized light microscope. Amazingly the scales were very dark with bottom light under the regular light on (they are only semi-transparent). Now, they are allow nice and bright under the polarized light microscope while having a nice and dark background.
The equipment used in this project was Ample Scientific Nexcope CM701 microscope with Nikon S200 snapshot camera. The linear polarizer purchased from eBay and the polarized film was purchased from American Science Surplus. I used the “night scene” shotting mode with exposure compensation of -1 for these photos. This results in darker background with slightly darker reflection with the specimen but overall it looks closer to to actual view than regular photo shooting.
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