Tardigrades, naturalists and the triplet distress (III)
Fig. 1: "Triview" folding magnifier,
with three plastics lenses. Marked with a tiny "CHINA" on its back side.
With this instrument you will have the choice among 5x, 10x and 15 x hallucinogenic object views (cf. the image shown in fig. 4)
Fig. 2: "Triview" folding magnifier, side view on to
the top of one ot the acrylic lenses. You will be able to notice a bizarre crater geometry (a truly aspheric lens ;-).
Fig. 3: When looking closer, wavelet structures and
some kind of tiny "volcanic" bubble eruption pattern will become visible. And no, these structures are not finger prints,
they are plastics forming defects.
The sum of all those defects will generate a psychedelic image, far from reality. The image shown has been
taken through two of the "Triview" lenses (i.e. 10x magnification).
So LSD might serve as a comparable magnifier as well. The best way out of all these problems is to perform your own checks. Object micrometers with 1/100 mm scale will be available in the internet for less than 10 US $ and they will be ideal objects in order to compare the actual performance of your magnifiers. Moreover, they will be able to confirm that some tremendously expensive folding magnifiers out there are perfect examples for stupid customers (you?) and what the British call "silly money".
Fig. 5: An ordinary object micrometer cross, as it is looking under a typical light microscope (left) and under a 10x folding magnifier (right).
As a rule a 1/100 mm scale cannot be resolved by a 10x folding magnifier,
no matter how expensive it might be. The 1/100 mm spaces will appear as optical smudge.
Nevertheless the 10fold magnifier can serve as an ingenious tool in order to screen for tardigrades in dry moss cushions (note: without watering the sample!). Due to the relatively low 10x magnification we will be able to enjoy a tremendously wide field of view (2 cm) with acceptable focus depth.
Fig. 6: Grimmia pulvinata moss broken in half.
Image width ca. 4.5 cm.
The clever bit is not to buy an extremely expensive 10fold magnifier (worst case: without in-built illumination) but instead to use the chinese "6 LED" true triplet folding magnifier. The blue Echiniscus tuns will appear as tiny sapphires under these conditions:
Fig. 7: Grimmia pulvinata
moss cushion, after breaking in half. Detail from fig. 6, 1 cm in width.
Please place your nose close to the screen in order to perceive the tiny details!
Most of the blue spots are signalling Echiniscus water bears in the dry state.
By help of the blue "nose" from the blueish (cold white) LED
the tardigrade tuns will appear in blue color. Without this interference effect they
would remain invisible on the brown moss background at low (e.g. 10fold) magnification.
© Text, images and video clips by
Martin Mach (email@example.com).