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Applied Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) (1201) / Forensic Microscopy (1204), September 9-13, 2024 In-Person

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Course schedule: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Friday

Students will acquire the basic knowledge and practical skills to apply polarized light methods in their areas of interest and will appreciate the potential contribution of more advanced methods and techniques. The materials examined emphasize particle analysis including; fibers, paint, glass, hair, explosives, soil, drugs, etc.

Many of our advanced courses expand topic areas introduced in this course, creating a family of specialized, intensive week-long courses. These course topics include: Microchemical Methods [1270A], Sample Preparation and Manipulation for Microanalysis [1501E], Digital Imaging and Photomicrography [1105] and Hotstage Microscopy and Polymorphism [1260].

Closely similar courses are available that are tailored to specific areas of application. These include Pharmaceutical Microscopy [1203] and Microscopy for Art Conservators [1206]. With minor exceptions, the microscopical skills and information provided are the same, but the materials studied and problems addressed are those of the application area. Many students also use these courses as a review or refresher of course 1201. This course, and its near equivalents just mentioned, serve as a prerequisite for many of our advanced courses.

This is the same course as Applied Polarized Light Microscopy (1201).

There is no prerequisite for this course.

Day 1:
Physical optics: reflection, refraction, refractive index, dispersion, lenses, aberrations, objectives, oculars, condensers, stands, lamps, image formation, illumination, resolving power, image contrast, micrometry, crystallization, crystal morphology.

Day 2:
Microchemistry; particle-picking, manipulation, testing; crystal optics: color and pleochroism, refractive indices, dispersion staining.

Day 3:
Crossed polars: birefringence, retardation, interference figures; identification of small single particles: synthetics and natural fibers, diverse biological particles, minerals, industrial dusts and combustion products.

Day 4:
Visual thermal analysis (i.e. fusion methods): polymorphism, isomorphism, liquid crystals, hot stages, cold stages, digital imaging techniques, composition diagram; accessories for the light microscope to improve resolution, contrast and additional characterization data.

Day 5:
Characterization and identification of knowns and unknowns