Home > Chemical Detection > Technology > Microscopy > Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)

Polarized light microscopy is a non-destructive technique which uses plane-polarized visible light to interrogate samples. The polarization of the light source leads to enhanced image contrast in materials that have directionally-dependent refractive indices (birefringent).  In PLM, light passes through a polarizer prior to interacting with the specimen and through an analyzer before reaching the observation optics (either eyepieces or camera). The morphological character of a sample may be obtained by PLM as well as information about homogeneity, crystal structure, origin (natural versus synthetic). Additionally, with the addition of components such as hot stages and index matching oils, the refractive index of materials may also be determined by PLM.  While most broadly used in the fields of geology and materials science, PLM can also be applied to forensic, pharmaceutical, and biological samples as well. The combination of information obtained from PLM alone can often be used to identify unknown materials. Some microscopes can be coupled to cameras for image preservation. Microscopes are typically employed as benchtop instruments.  It is an extremely mature analytical technique and instruments are widely available from a large number of manufacturers.  Microscope prices vary widely depending on the quality and complexity of the lens optics and accessories such as camera and hot stages.

Manufacturer
Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH (1)
Leica Microsystems (1)
Meiji Techno Co. (2)
Nikon Instruments, Inc. (3)
Transportability
Benchtop/Fixed (7)
Availability
Commercially Available (7)
Unit Cost
N/A (7)
Sample Introduction
Solid (7)
Sensitivity / Detection Limit
µg (7)
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Axio Imager 2

Axio Imager 2

Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH

Polarized light microscope provides identification of anisotropic materials based on their interacti...

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DM2700 P

DM2700 P

Leica Microsystems

Polarized light microscope provides identification of anisotropic materials based on their interacti...

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Eclipse Ci Polarizing

Eclipse Ci Polarizing

Nikon Instruments, Inc.

Polarized light microscope provides identification of anisotropic materials based on their interacti...

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Eclipse E-200 POL

Eclipse E-200 POL

Nikon Instruments, Inc.

Polarized light microscope provides identification of anisotropic materials based on their interacti...

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Eclipse LV100 POL

Eclipse LV100 POL

Nikon Instruments, Inc.

Polarized light microscope provides identification of anisotropic materials based on their interacti...

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ML series (includes the 9000, 9400, and 9700 series)

ML series (includes the 9000, 9400, and 9700 series)

Meiji Techno Co.

Polarized light microscope provides identification of anisotropic materials based on their interacti...

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MT series (includes the 9000 and 9900 series)

MT series (includes the 9000 and 9900 series)

Meiji Techno Co.

Polarized light microscope provides identification of anisotropic materials based on their interacti...

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