Adding spectroscopy to your microscope!

Optical microscopes are routinely found in a wide variety of laboratories, but they are often only used as a magnifying glass to allow the user to better see the sample. However, even an inexpensive microscope can be upgraded to do so much more! By sending the light from the microscope to a spectrometer, many different types of spectra can be measured with a much smaller sampling area than is capable with a standard bench-top spectroscopy tool, such as transmission, reflection, fluorescence, and other types of optical emission. Microscope spectrophotometers (or microspectrophotometers / MSP) are designed to measure UV-VIS-NIR spectra of microscopic samples or microscopic areas of larger objects. While a standard spectrophotometer is designed to measure samples on the order of 1 x 1 centimeters, the microspectrophotometer is able to measure samples on the order of 1 x 1 micrometers...much smaller than the thickness of a human hair. The 508 PVTM microscope spectrophotometer is a modular head unit that can be installed on the open phototube port of most upright microscopes to add spectroscopy to your microscope. With CRAIC Technologies products, you can acquire high quality spectra of even sub-micron samples rapidly, non-destructively and with ease.

As shown in the diagram on the right, the MSP head unit can be added to the photoport of a microscope, and the spectrometer measures the light that is collected by the objective and focused onto the spectrophotometer entrance aperture.  Whether this light is transmitted through the sample, reflected from the sample, or emitted by the sample, that only changes the calculations done on the light intensity measured.

Beyond just measuring UV-VIS-NIR spectra with microscale sampling areas, microspectrophotometers are also capable of microspot thin film thickness and colorimetry measurements. When combined with motorized stages, hyperspectral data cubes can even be created with various types of spectra.  Because these instruments are so flexible, MSP's are used in many diverse fields of research and industry.