From Ceramic Technology and Processing


This section discusses both optical and electron microscopes. Both microscopes have their particular limitations and advantages. While there are a wide variety of optical microscopes, those usually encountered in the ceramic lab are either stereo-binocular or petrographic/metallographic. Most likely, the microscope is a universal microscope, having both transmitted and reflected light capability. The various uses of microscopy include particle size measurement, dimensions, grain size, microstructure, morphology, phase identification, stress measurement, chemical composition (electron microscopes), and crystal type identification (TEM). TEMs have also been used successfully for defect structure analysis.

They are also used to examine surfaces of fired ceramics for cracks, chips, spots, interfaces and other properties.

Many of the attributes for study are too small to be observed without magnification. But microscopes do more than just magnify, as seen in the foregoing partial list of uses.

Optical Microscopes

This section describes two types of optical microscopes, stereo-binocular and universal. Many other types exist for specialized uses, and there are many other instruments that use optical microscopes as part of their design. Because the stereo-binocular and universal microscopes are most common in the ceramics lab, the discussion will be limited to these.


These are commonly used to look at the surface of ceramics and other materials where the view is similar to that produced by a magnifying glass, but at magnifications up to about 40X. Illumination is oblique; the light source illuminates the surface without going through the optics. These common microscopes are quite useful. Flexible fiber...

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Products & Services
Digital and Video Microscopes
Digital and video microscopes are instruments that use digital technology to magnify images of objects. They include built-in cameras and a series of high-powered lenses that provide superior image quality and resolution.
Optical and Light Microscopes
Optical and light microscopes use the visible or near-visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to magnify images of objects.
Microscopes are instruments that produce magnified images of small objects
Metallurgical Microscopes
Metallurgical microscopes are used for metallurgical inspection including metals, ceramics, and other materials.
Measuring Microscopes
Measuring microscopes are used by toolmakers for measuring the properties of tools.  These microscopes are often used for dimensional measurement with lower magnifying powers to allow for brighter, sharper images combined with a wide field of view.

Topics of Interest

5.0 PHYSICAL PROPERTIES What has preceded this section leads up to developing the physical properties of the ceramic that are needed to fill an application. This section is concerned with how these...

Electron microscopes utilize an electron that is scanned across a scanning electron microscope (SEM) or passed through a tranmission electron microscope (TEM) a sample to capture an image. The...

Designed to replace traditional eyepieces on mono, routine, research, and stereo microscopes, a device significantly improves the performance of conventional binocular microscopes. The ISIS eyepiece,...

Stereo microscopes are often nicknamed the workhorse of the lab or the production department. Users spend many hours behind the ocular inspecting, observing, documenting or dissecting samples. Which...

Chapter List Chapter 13: Optical Microscopy Chapter 14: Wide-Field Autofluorescence Microscopy for the Imaging of Living Cells Chapter 15: Scanning Probe Microscopy Chapter 16: Confocal and...