High resolution lenses for machine vision — standard and custom lens design

CCD Lens-less Digital Microscope Technology

High Resolution Lenses for machine vision, instrumentation, inspection and vibration-sensitive applications. Standard and custom hi-res lens assemblies.

CCD Lens

CCD Lens

If you have a microscope without a lens is it still a microscope? Technically, yes, it’s a digital microscope. A microscope that operates without the use of a lens relies on a sensor to magnify the view of the specimen that is being displayed onto a computer monitor.

With the technological advances in all aspects of medicine and its inherent medical equipment devices, it was only a matter of time before microscopes were brought into the digital age. The new digital microscopes have added on features that include lens-less technology. The basic structure of microscopes has not changed dramatically, but the digital parts are an add-on accessory for the original design. The camera apparatus works in concert with a built-in charge-coupled device or CCD camera.

A CCD sensor captures and records images of specimens and transmits it to a computer monitor. The CCD plugs into the computer’s USB port and the information can also be stored on the computer’s hard drive. Digital microscope technologies utilize fluorescence, phase content and transmitted light to observe the specimens, whether animal or plant tissues or microbes. Researchers can regulate the magnification and it can be viewed at magnifications starting at 25x up to 1,000x the original size. Having a larger screen allows scientists to view the magnified object in a larger view than is typically found under a viewfinder.

Digital microscopes are not relegated to the scientific realm as magnification offers researchers, school laboratories and hobbyists an accessible technology to help them better perform. The digital microscope technology is being put into use currently but the digital technologies are being moved up to the next level through enhanced imaging visibility. Another advantage of the digital CCD is that multiple users can view the image on the computer monitor and that also allows more than one set of eyes to view changes simultaneously. The reason digital microscopes are gaining popularity in school settings is because they allow the school the purchase fewer microscopes because more students can see the images as they’re projected on the large screen.

For all of the digital microscope’s advantages there are a few drawbacks to the technology. One of the issues researchers have found is that to project an accurate magnification, a ten-foot screen is needed to capture a 200x magnification accurately. This limitation hasn’t deterred researchers and scientists from the use of the digital microscope.

In addition to the enhancements in the digital technology for the microscopes, they are also more portable than other models and these make them the perfect piece of equipment for onsite research. Adding a laptop computer and a USB allows scientists and researchers to begin work immediately at a research site.

Flat objects are one of the ideal test subjects for a digital microscope and can be used for the magnification of banknotes or fragile documents as well as by coin collectors. As with all magnification technologies researchers and/or hobbyists need to know the limitations of what they’re looking to magnify and whether digital microscopic technology will best suit the requirements of the items to be magnified and studied.