Photo-microscopy can be a sophisticated method of imaging microscopic specimens. None-the-less here is a simple method for making images sufficient to capture useful information. It leads to the discovery of the complexity and beauty of everything around us.

The two most important pieces of equipment of this device are a monocular microscope with lenses. You may purchase one on ebay as shown here one for less than $100. The second item is a cell phone with a camera which most people already have. The rest is made from scraps of plastic and plumbing and some resin adhesive.The camera lens must be positioned at the center of the focal point above the eye piece. Here is how to make a holder for the cell phone camera.

Finished assembly
Voila ! A digital microscope is born !

I’m sure that you can invent all sorts of variations of this device to include adjustable focal length modifications and retaining set screws. This can have substage and top stage lighting as necessary. If you wish it may even adjustable to include polarization and color filters as well as florescent and dark field microscopy.

The subject to be examined can be almost endless and include live, dry and wet specimens. If you wish there is a world of sectioning and staining as well as preservation. I learned and practiced these techniques while I was in college and working for the pathology department as a certified histology technician.

See our blog page on ‘Monarchs’. There are photomicrographs of wings, antenna and claws of the insects. Also check out our Field Note on Birth of a Monarch.

You will also need some microscope slides and cover slips to hold or mount the subject in place while viewing it. These are readily available from AmScope. The slides including cover slips for cost about 50/$12. Their site is at this location

Monarch butterfly wing image captured with home made digital microscope

#digital microscope #photo-microscopy #microscope #cell phone adaptor

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