If you are in search of a quality and portable microscope, this article here is packed with all the info that you have to know about the topic. In this short guide, we are here to talk to you about different ways to prepare a microscope slide.
A wet mount
To mount a wet mount slide, you will need to use slides, coverslips, water, toothpicks, scissors, a razor blade, clear nail polish, and a microscope.
To start, you have to place a drop of water or a drop of clear nail polish on a new or clean slide. If the subject that you want to view is liquid (for example soapy water or pond water), or liquid food (honey or yogurt) the specialists argue that there is no need for you to use water. Instead, you just have to place the liquid material on the slide.
Then, use a toothpick or a forceps (if you have one) to gather the material (provided that it is non-liquid). Next, transfer the material onto the water or the polish drop from the slide. If you have to, you can use the forceps/toothpick to gently dislodge the materials.
Now you have to lower a coverslip and to place it onto the slide. Finally, you can examine the slide under the microscope and you can take the time to record your findings. From this point of view, it should be said that using a special journal might come in handy. Some users also point out that taking pictures of the observed slides might also be helpful.
If you leave it intact, a slide that was prepared using nail polish is semi-permanent. The slides prepared using water are temporary. You can wash them and then you can leave them to dry. They can be reused as often as possible.
Normally, wet mounts are utilized when examining living samples such as aquatic or transparent ones. If the organisms that you are trying to view are moving too quickly, you can add a drop of a solution called Proto Slow. The substance has to be added before you place the coverslip on. This product can be purchased online or from specialized retailers.
Because, as the liquid evaporates from the slide, there is a chance that the organisms on it might die, the specialists recommend that you use a toothpick to gently coat the edges of the coverslip with petroleum jelly. You should do so before you place the coverslip on. To seal the slide, it is best that you press gently onto the coverslip.
A dry mount
As fellow microscope users say, dry mounts are easier to prepare. To do so, you will need slides and coverslips, scissors, toothpicks or forceps, razor blades and clear nail polish (optional).
As expected, you have to start by using the forceps or the toothpicks to gather the dry material that you intend to examine under the microscope. Then, you have to place the material on the slide. Finally, simply add a coverslip over the slide.
To hold the specimen in place, you can always use a concavity slide. Plus, you can also transform it into a semi-permanent slide by adding a drop of clear nail polish onto it. Once you are all done, you can get to work and start examining the slide under high or low power.
Once again, you can now take pictures of the material that you are observing and you can make minute notations in your journal.
How to stain slides
As the experts assert, there are numerous ways in which a person can stain a slide. Staining slides is necessary in order to make it easier for one to see details that, otherwise, might not be visible. The simplest way to make a stain is by utilizing methylene blue, iodine or crystal violet. You can use these substances when preparing both wet and dry mounts.
To start, you have to prepare a dry or a wet slide, in accordance with your preference. Add the coverslip as well. Next, place a small drop of methylene blue, iodine or crystal violet on the edge of the coverslip.
You then have to put the edge of a paper towel or of tissue on the opposite part of the coverslip. According to the specialists, capillary action will actually pull the dye across the slide and the specimen will be stained.
What objects can one examine under the microscope
If you are out of inspiration, and you do not know what objects you can examine next under the microscope, we have gathered a couple of suggestions that you might want to try.
If you want to prepare a dry slide, you should consider using sugar, powder detergent, salt, mold from food, thin slices of vegetables or fruit and even pet and human hair. On top of that, some also recommend analyzing garden soil and even dust!
In the case of wet slides, you can always take the time to analyze yogurt, pound water, wet soil, tooth plaque or even cheek cells. If you have plenty of time on your hands, as well as a stereo microscope, you can examine a dollar bill, newspaper clippings, flower petals, butterflies and postage stamps.
If you want to examine bacteria cultures under the microscope, you can do so by utilizing yogurt. To do so, you will need glass slides, toothpicks, yogurt, plastic slips and Methylene blue (optional).
You have to start by taking a small drop of yogurt by using the toothpick. Next, smear it for two to three seconds on the slide. Then, place a small drop of methylene blue on the slide. This step is entirely optional.
Finally, place a coverslip over the slide and remove the excess solution from around the coverslip. You can use a paper towel to do this efficiently. Once you are done, you can view the slide under the microscope at 4x or 10x. While you do so, remember that bacteria will appear small, no matter how high the magnification is.
When it comes to preparing a microscope slide, there are a couple of safety measures that you should keep in mind. To start, you have to wear the necessary protective clothing. You have to put the clothing on before you actually start using the microscope.
By protective clothing, we are referring to safety glasses, disposable gloves, and a lab coat. This is particularly important if you are handling dangerous chemicals of biological material of any kind.
To avoid breaking the microscope in between uses, fellow users recommend that you use both your hands when transferring it from one place to another. It is best that you place a hand underneath it and the other one on top of it.
Plus, it is advisable that you do not touch the lens of the microscope with bare hands as this might lead to the damaging of the device itself. Additionally, when using a microscope, it is crucial that you do not use direct sunlight as a light source. If you do so, you risk serious eye damage according to the experts.
Finally, it is crucial that you handle the slides with extra caution in order to prevent the risk of cuts and/or contamination.