Blog

11/07/2014
by Absolute Clarity

Hello and welcome to our new blog! Check back soon for news and updates.

Choosing a Microscope for Educational Applications

11/07/2017
by Absolute Clarity

Classroom MicroscopeIn addition to being powerful scientific instruments, microscopes can also serve as valuable educational tools in a classroom setting. After all, there’s no better way to learn about the structure of minerals and biological specimens than by taking an up-close look at them. That’s why microscopes are common features of classrooms and home science labs all over the world. But before you invest in a microscope for educational purposes, it’s important to understand your options. Generally speaking, these microscopes fall into two broad categories: flat field and stereo microscopes.

Flat Field

Also known as compound microscopes, flat field microscopes utilize a single objective lens to magnify specimens on the stage. Flat field microscopes offer high viewing resolutions and magnifications, but they have a very narrow depth of field due to their single-lens design. As a result, flat field microscopes are only suitable for viewing very flat objects such as biological specimens on microscopic slides.

Stereo

Stereo microscopes use two separate optical paths to achieve a much greater depth of field than their flat field counterparts. In essence, these microscopes mimic the function of our eyes, albeit at much higher magnifications. Because they allow us to perceive specimens in three dimensions, stereo microscopes are far more versatile than flat field microscopes. If you plan on studying anything other than biological specimens, a stereo microscope is the way to go.

At Absolute Clarity & Calibration, we offer our own line of entry-level microscopes that are ideal for educational applications, as well as microscopes from other top manufacturers. Meiji, for example, has a number of great options for educators. You can browse our complete selection of educational microscopes online, or contact us today to learn more.

Using a Microscope for Engraving Work

08/22/2017
by Absolute Clarity

Meiji EMZ

A quality stereo microscope makes it much easier to see whatever you’re working on, and that’s especially true with engraving work. Eye strain and fatigue are common for engravers, especially when working without a microscope or with one that offers inferior magnification. Fortunately we offer high-quality stereo microscopes that can help make engraving work easier than ever.

Quality

It is essential to start with a high-quality microscope. There are plenty of cheap microscopes available, but as with most things, you get what you pay for with microscopes, and an inferior microscope will only result in inferior results, added frustration and wasted money for the engraver. Bright and clear optics can only be found in quality instruments.

Meiji Techno has been an industry standard for decades because their microscopes offer outstanding performance and reliability at a reasonable price. In fact, every Meiji microscope is carefully and thoroughly inspected before it even leaves the factory. Meiji’s EMZ Series has incredibly high-quality optics balances with versatility and affordability.

Stands

Meiji also offers some of the best values on stands, and at Absolute Clarify & Calibration, we now carry Meiji’s new FA-5 Triple Joint Table Mount Stand. Ideal for engravers, this stand is equipped with an 84.5 millimeter holder, and fits Meiji’s EMZ, EMT and EMF bodies. The FA-5 stand can also be mounted to any bench.

The Meiji FA-5 stand pairs nicely with a Meiji EMZ series microscope. Offering 10x SWF eyepieces and a 0.5x supplementary lens, this can create a perfect setup for your engraving business. This combination of stand and scope provides a total magnification of 3.5x to 22.5x, a field of view between 65.7 and 10.2 millimeters, and a working distance of 148 millimeters.

Absolute Clarity & Calibration LLC has been providing exceptional sales, service and support for our customers since 1991. We make it a point to provide the highest quality of equipment and fast, reliable service and repair work for each of our customers. To learn more about microscopes and stands that can improve your engraving business or discuss your specific needs with us, call Absolute Clarity & Calibration today at 860-583-0502.

Get Ready for the Solar Eclipse on August 21!

07/28/2017
by Absolute Clarity

In just a little less than a month, audiences throughout the country will be able to witness a historic total solar eclipse that will pass across North America all the way from Oregon to South Carolina. Although solar eclipses are actually quite common here on Earth, it’s exceptionally rare for one to traverse the entire length of the Contiguous United States. Likewise, American astronomy enthusiasts have been gearing up for this event for months.

But in order to safely view the eclipse, you’ll need to get some protective eyewear first.

Even though the moon passes in front of the sun during a solar eclipse, it’s still dangerous to look directly toward the sun. That’s why the Space Science Institute is collaborating with public libraries all across the nation to distribute more than 2 million pairs of free eclipse glasses to people who want to view the celestial event without risking damage to their eyes. This outreach initiative is designed to make it easier for people – particularly kids – to safely watch the eclipse and nurture their interest in astronomy.

Here in Connecticut, however, there are only a handful of libraries participating in the event. Fortunately, you can purchase them right here at Absolute Clarity as well. Because we’re north of the eclipse’s path, we’ll only be able to see a partial solar eclipse, but it will still be an event to remember. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even travel west or south to catch the total eclipse in its prime!

Looking for a pair of eclipse glasses so you’ll be ready on August 21? Give us a call to purchase yours from Absolute Clarity today!

Reducing Eye Strain Starts With Maintaining Your Microscope

05/19/2017
by Absolute Clarity

Let’s say that you have been using your microscope on a regular basis for years with no issue until suddenly your eyes start bothering you every time you finish looking through your ‘scope. Is it just that you are getting old? Probably not. The cause of your eye strain is likely due to misaligned optics in your microscope. Unfortunately, misaligned optics can’t be fixed at home, but Absolute Clarity is available to correct the problem for you.

So what causes these alignment issues and how can you fix them? Read on to find out.

Stereo Microscope

Causes of optical misalignment

Reasons for your misalignment may be tied to how you move the oculars, taking pictures through to your eyepiece tubes, improper carrying or dropping the microscope. When adjusting the inter-pupillary distance (how far apart the eyepieces are) make sure you are moving the eye tubes close to the body of the scope. To eliminate the second cause, never attached a camera to the eye tube, camera should only be attached to a trinocular port. When moving your microscope, you should never lift it by the stage or head. Always lift by the “neck” of the stand with your second hand under the base. If you have to ship your microscope, we recommend putting it in a sealed plastic bag, and then wrapping it in bubble wrap and packing it with Styrofoam peanuts in a box with plenty of room for additional cushioning. You can check out our complete packing and shipping instructions here.

Winging It

If you feel that your microscope is out of alignment, then you need to fix it, but unless you are an experienced and seasoned professional, it can be difficult to make sure that it is done right on your own. To reiterate, you should never attempt to realign the optics of a microscope on your own, but making adjustments to the stage is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged.

Do yourself a favor and consult the user’s manual prior to making any adjustments to your microscope. Under no circumstance should you ever use force to tighten or move any piece of your microscope, and if you’re not completely comfortable with making adjustments, call in professional help with your preventative maintenance or alignment.

Go Dust-Free

Have you consulted your manual and made all the proper alignment changes but you are still feeling the effects of eye strain? Then you may just need to complete some cleaning. The first step is making sure to keep the lens and eyepieces on your scope dust and dirt free. Our optical cleaning kit is the perfect solution for making sure your microscope view is clean and clear. Avoid any future dust issues by keeping a cover over your microscope whenever it is not in use or storing it in a case.

If you’ve tried making adjustments and discovered you still can’t solve your issues or you know that there’s a problem with your microscope, look no further than the experts at Absolute Clarity & Calibration. Our microscope repair and maintenance services will make your microscope look and work just like new once again. We offer everything from mechanical and electrical repairs to complete refurbishments and retrofit manufacturing for older equipment in our machine shop. Learn more or schedule service today by calling us at 860-583-0502.

Getting Started with Rockhounding

04/11/2017
by Absolute Clarity


Are you looking for a new hobby? Amateur geology – also called rockhounding – is a great way to learn more about rocks, minerals, gems, fossils and other items found buried in the earth by collecting and studying them. Rockhounding can be a great way to learn about the history of your town or city, and it can also teach you a lot about the many rocks and minerals that make up our planet. But before you decide to start rockhounding, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basics and the tools of the trade so you can make the most of it.

Before you step outsid e and start searching around for rocks and minerals, you should take the time to educate yourself about them by reading books about amateur geology. There are plenty of resources available out there, and they will help paint a clearer picture about what rockhounding is and how it works. AmateurGeologist offers a wealth of information for those just getting started, including gear guides, book resources and maps. Another site, Beyond 4Cs, maintains an extensive list of free gemology courses and resources as well.

Depending on your location, you may also want to look at joining or attending a meeting of one of the more than 900 rock and mineral clubs. Those in charge of running these clubs can show you the ropes and teach you about the differences between rocks and minerals so that you know what to look for when you’re out hunting for them. Rockhounds.com offers a registry online to help you find a club near you.

The great part about rockhounding, thou gh, is that you don’t necessarily have to have a great deal of knowledge or experience to get started. While it will certainly help to read about rocks and minerals and to talk to those who know more about them than you do, rockhounding is a very accessible hobby for people of all ages and all walks of life. You can simply visit a local park or beach, or just stroll through your backyard, and start looking around for rocks and minerals on your own. You never know what you will find, and if you suspect that something that turns up on your hunt is worth investigating further, you can research it more later.

Using a stereo microscope allows you to take a closer look at your samples, providing a clearer picture in 3-D. This allows you to study the unique features or rocks, minerals and crystals that you uncover and identify the distinctive features and striations that make each sample unique. You can compare and contrast the different rocks and minerals that you find, looking at the similarities between your different finds or identifying unusual or distinctive aspects that make them stand out.

If you decide that you want to invest in a stereo microscope for your rockhounding expeditions, Absolute Clarity & Calibration is your one-stop-shop for all things related to microscopes. We carry a large selection of stereo microscopes and can show you exactly how to use them for rockhounding purposes. Call us at 860-583-0502 today for more information on stereo microscopes or to schedule an appointment to stop in and see us.

Five Easy Microscope Experiments for Beginners

03/27/2017
by Absolute Clarity

Did you just get your hands on a new microscope and are trying to think of some fun or educational ideas for what you can examine at home? We’ve got five simple microscope experiments that are great for students in any school level or even just for at-home microscope aficionados.

Leaves

Clean, dry leaves make great simple experiments. Collect a number of different leaves – some still very green and some browned and dead, and leaves from different kinds of trees – and compare the way they each look under the microscope. You might be surprised to see differences in the detail of the leaf surfaces between the tree species or even from a fresh leaf to one at the end of its life.

Money

Have you ever zoomed way in on a $1 bill? Slide a dollar bill under your microscope to check out the intense detail with which our money is printed and why it’s so hard to make counterfeit cash. You can see all of the nuanced printing that is done to deter counterfeiters – many of which are traits that cannot be seen with the naked eye. If you can, try with different denominations or even with currency from other countries, suggests MicroscopeDetective.

Printed Photos

You know from your use of computers or televisions that many modern displays have small pixels that combine together to provide the full picture. Did you know, however, that is how many printed pictures are produced as well? Take a picture printed off from your home or office printer and put it beneath the microscope. This is a great experiment to practice adjusting focus and magnification, notes MicrobeHunter, and will open children’s eyes to the fact that the big picture is just a series of smaller printed dots!

Insects

Spring is coming, and with it will be the return of many species of insects. That means it could be the perfect time to get a closer look at some of the creepy-crawlies that share our world. Capture a few interesting samples – flies, grasshoppers or other small insects – and place them under the microscope’s lens to get a look at some of their distinct and interesting features like compound eyes or wing structures. Plus, the stereo microscope will provide a three-dimensional view, allowing you to get a better look at these structures in the context of the insect’s body shape.

Crystals

Depending on where you live, you may have a high concentration of naturally forming crystals in the world around you. Quartz is incredibly common all around the country, and there are an incredible number of varieties that can be interesting to compare side by side. You can even bring out your own jewelry, as well, and put that under the ‘scope to get a closer look at the refined cut and features that make jewelry stones to appealing.

These are just a few of the many incredible things you can do with your microscope as you get started. Whether you’re in the market for one to have in your home or to grow your own hobby, Absolute Clarity & Calibration has what you need. Our extensive inventory of microscopes includes something for everyone, whether you’re a casual home user or a passionate hobbyist. Shop the full catalog online now or call us today at 860-583-0502.

Lighting and Microscopes: How the Light Selection Affects Operations

03/20/2017
by Absolute Clarity

Stereo Microscope Purchasing a microscope that comes equipped with a quality lighting system can make a world of difference for anyone using their devices on a regular basis. A good lighting system will allow you to literally shed light on a specimen so that you can get a much better look at it. But did you know that all microscope lighting systems are not created equal?

According to Microscopes.org there are several different lighting options to consider for use with your microscopes, each of which offers its own specific pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at some of the different options.

Fluorescents

Fluorescent lights are common in many American homes, but also used frequently for scientific uses. They give off light when the gas inside of them is electrified. These bulbs create a more natural white light that allows you to see specimens as they really are without any discoloration from the light source. The coolness and sharpness that fluorescent lights provide has made them a popular choice for many both hobbyists and students who rely on microscopes.

Fluorescent lights are also sold as a ring light which can be used to provide a uniform lighting around a sample. Whether an insect, crystal or stone, this light can surround your object and light evenly from all sides, brightening up features so that you can get a better look at every angle and detail.

LEDs

Many people have turned to LED lighting in their homes, and the trend has started to spread into the microscope community, as well. LED lights don’t consume much power and last for a significantly longer period of time than most conventional lights. In addition, with the low power requirements, they are also the perfect lighting system to match up with a rechargeable battery. As a lighting accessory, LED lights pair perfectly with cordless microscopes to take your equipment along on a trip into the field. Certain LED light sources are even dimmable, which also allows more adjustment in brightness, making the LED more and more popular for its versatility.

Halogens

Finally, halogen lights usually aren’t found on microscopes themselves, but are more and more common as an accessory. Halogens are common as part of fiber optic pipes, which can be mounted to a microscope and moved on a snake-like arm to provide lighting from nearly any angle. This is particular beneficial when studying samples as you may not be able to see certain features of an insect’s anatomy or a particular striation of a crystal without lighting from a specific angle. These lights can direct light exactly where you need it, providing the view you need to get the most from your studies.

Absolute Clarity & Calibration has more than 20 years of experience when it comes to microscopes and we can help you find the right lighting system for your microscope. We carry a wide range of replacement bulbs for common microscopes and a full range of LED lighting options. Learn more about lighting and how we can help by calling us today at 860-583-0502.

Common Mistakes Beginners Make with Stereo Microscopes

01/25/2017
by Absolute Clarity

Stereo microscopes, which are also commonly referred to as low power or dissecting microscopes, can be used to take a closer look at specimens that are visible with the naked eye. For example, you can use a stereo microscope to analyze insects, coins, circuit boards or any other objects that are large enough for you to see. Stereo microscopes offer either adjustable magnification – commonly in stereo zoom or turret microscopes – or fixed magnification through the two eyepieces that can provide slightly different aspects and a more three-dimensional view of a given sample.

While stereo microscopes offer a range of unique advantages over compound microscopes, it’s important for you to be careful when using a stereo microscope, as they also come with their own unique set of challenges. Here are several mistakes that many first-time stereo microscope users make.

Mistake 1: Using a higher magnification than necessary.

Most stereo microscopes are capable of magnifying specimens from 2x all the way up to 100x. But in general, there aren’t many occasions that will call for you to attempt to magnify something at the most extreme level, and we don’t generally recommend going above 60x magnification. Many people try to magnify specimens at the maximum settings much right away, though, and wonder why they are unable to see anything in their microscopes. This is why it’s always best to start at a much lower magnification and then work your way up as necessary.

Mistake 2: Trying to look at specimens that are too small.

As we mentioned, stereo microscopes are not designed to analyze cells or other specimens that are impossible to see with the naked eye. Despite this, many people still try to do it and zoom in as close as they can on microscopic items. If this is your goal, you should be using a compound microscope instead.

Mistake 3: Adjusting the wrong light.

Some stereo microscopes offer two light adjustments, with the incident light that shines from above and a bottom light that provides upward illumination. Many think that turning up the bottom light is the better option, but most stereo microscope uses are better served by improving the light from above. Unless the sample being observed is transparent or translucent, improve visual quality by turning up the incidental lighting.

Mistake 4: Mishandling the microscope.

While stereo microscopes are much sturdier than compound microscopes, this does not mean that you should not still handle them with great care. If you are a parent giving your child a stereo microscope, you should teach them about being gentle with the lens and handling their specimens. Instructing proper microscope care early establishes a respect for scientific equipment that can carry throughout the rest of a child’s life. Teach them to be gentle and careful and they can not only explore some great science, but also develop greater appreciation for the microscopic world.

Absolute Clarity offers a wide rangeof stereo microscopes for classrooms, educational settings and more. Regardless of whether you’re looking to purchase a brand new microscope or one that has been used, we can assist you. Reach out to us at 860-583-0502 today to learn more.

Getting Started with Compound Microscopes: Avoid These Common Beginner’s Mistakes

01/03/2017
by Absolute Clarity

Using a microscope can be more complicated than it looks. While many beginners think that it’s as simple as placing a sample underneath the microscope, turning the lamp on and taking a look through the eyepiece, there is much more to it and there are all kinds of mistakes that beginners make when they use microscopes for the first time. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most common mistakes that you should be mindful of before you start using a microscope.

Mistake 1: Looking at a sample without a cover slip.

Before you look at a sample under a microscope, make sure that you are using a cover slip on your slide. If you fail to use one, the quality of the image seen through the microscope will be lower. Not using a slip can also change the focal distance, as well, notes Microbe Hunter Microscopy Magazine, which can cause even more issues with trying to adjust the focus on an improperly prepared sample.

Mistake 2: Using fine focus adjustment too frequently.

Many first-time microscope users turn the fine focus adjustment more times than they should while trying to focus. This may end up creating an issue if these adjustments end up sending the high-power objective of their microscope into – or even through – the slide. This can result in damage to both the microscope and the slide, so instruct first-timers to be careful of their adjustments and to be aware of their slide and lens locations.

Mistake 3: Using high magnification right away to view a sample.

When you use a microscope, the goal is to magnify the image of your sample as much as possible in most cases. However, you don’t want to magnify it too much right away. By teaching students to resist the urge to zoom right in, they can take a more complete view of a given sample or specimen, allowing them to then place their focus on a particular feature or element of interest. Instruct beginners to start with lower magnification and zoom in later once they have examined their sample.

Mistake 4: Moving the microscope around without turning off the lamp first.

The lamp on a microscope will heat up very quickly once it’s turned on, and if the microscope is moved with the lamp on repeatedly, it could reduce the lifespan of the lamp. Allowing the lamp to cool before moving the microscope can prolong the life of your microscope lamp, meaning fewer replacements and a more consistent experience.

Absolute Clarity & Calibration offers a large selection of microscopes for classrooms and educational settings. Whether you are in the market for a new or used microscope, a specific specialized type of microscope, or even need service for your current device, we can help. Call us at 860-583-0502 today to discover how we can help you with all of your microscope needs.

Do’s and Don’ts of Microscope Cleaning

11/22/2016
by Absolute Clarity

Microscopes are some of the most important pieces of equipment in any lab, classroom or medical facility, so taking good care of them is paramount. Like any frequently used device, microscopes can easily get dirty and need cleaning. To ensure that you are doing the best job possible, follow a few of these essential microscope cleaning dos and don'ts.

Do: Use All the Proper Tools

Your microscope is full of tiny moving parts, so it is important not to take the cleaning process for granted. Start it off right by using the proper cleaning materials. The essentials of a microscope cleaning kit include a specialized soft cotton cloth, cotton-tipped swabs and our proprietary microscope cleaning solution that’s great for clearing away dust, dirt and oils. Be sure to also check out our specialized Optical CleaningKit that can help make cleaning objective lenses and eyepieces a breeze.

Don’t: Cut Corners With Cleaning

Choosing the proper cleaning materials is key, so under no circumstances should you cut corners by using ordinary paper, fabric or your fingers. Using the wrong materials can make a small problem worse. For example, using a rough cloth or paper to try and clean a dirt lens can result in dirt being pressed against the lens, leading to scratches or other damages that can’t be reversed. Just as when you clean any type of glass, you want to avoid pushing the dirt or dust into the surface of the glass. As Micscape Magazinenotes, microscopes feature very small and sensitive parts, and the last thing you want to do is avoid grinding even the most microscopic particle into the soft glass.

Do: Clean Eyepiece Lenses Carefully

Seeing clearly through the microscope's eyepiece is paramount because clarity is necessary for your work. To clean these components, though, sometimes a surprisingly simple cleaning method words best: Your breath! As Leica ScienceLab mentions, breathing a bit of condensation from your warm breath onto the eyepiece can help remove water-soluble dirt and impurities. Simple breath and wipe in a center-out circular motion. For more stubborn problems, using a cloth moistened with a 95 percent alcohol solution can help. Be sure to dry the lens afterward with a cotton cloth.

Don’t: Let Your Microscope Get Dirty in the First Place

Rather than having to spend hours cleaning every crease and crevice of your microscope, try to avoid the problem and keep your device in prime working condition by being proactive with your storage. Simply put, the best way to prevent filth is to constantly keep the dust cover over the microscope whenever you are not using it. You can also use a gallon-size resealable bag as an option if you don’t have a dust cover available.

If you need help maintaining or calibrating your microscope or you are just looking to buy a new or refurbished model, Absolute Clarity & Calibration is here to serve. We provide optical calibration, repair and preventative maintenance services, and we would love to assist you, your company or your organization to keep your microscopes in tip-top shape. Call us at 860-583-0502 today to learn more.