Microscopy Lab Project

50 points

Due December 8, 2017

The Forensics Project is a microscope characterization of an unknown power. The powder will be a mixture of several different sample types and it is your job to identify as many components as you can using the microscope techniques that you have learned this semester. Each student will get a different white powder, and each student is required to submit their own Project Report describing the contents of the unknown. The unknown samples will be handed out in lecture 11/15/2017.

The unknown sample must be analyzed using any or all of the microscopy techniques up to and including Widefield Fluorescence Microscopy. To do so you may use any microscopes you wish, but it might be easier to use the ones we will have available in room 203 GPB. There we will have several microscopes set up so you can perform Brightfield, Darkfield, PLM, Phase Contrast, DIC, and/or Epifluorescence Microscopy. A sampling of fluorescent probes will also be available in 203 GPB in a labeled freezer.

The room will be open 8AM-5PM, M-F from November 13, 2017 through December 8, 2017. You may use the lab and microscopes at any time during that period. Neither Denise nor myself will be in the room at any particular times, so you will be on your own. If, however, you run into problems please contact me or Denise. Our cell numbers will be on the board in the room. You will each have your own access code to this room.

The Assignment: Using your knowledge of the different microscopes techniques, analyze your unknown sample and describe its components. Your report should contain:

1.     The microscope techniques you found useful in analyzing your sample:

  1. Explain the optical basis of the technique
  2. Why these techniques were appropriate for your sample

2.     Results. Results should include:

  1. A description of your findings
  2. Hand-drawn images or digital photos
  3. Conclusions about what is in your sample based on your data. This is important. If you say something is in your powder then include a drawing or photo to prove your point.

3.     Also include a brief description of microscope techniques that you tested but did not use, and why you didn’t use it. This is also important. Forgetting means you will lose points.

Include the following when you describe the microscopy you used:

  1. Optical diagram (ray diagram) showing the critical optical components important to the particular technique
  2. Briefly describe how to set up a microscope to obtain the chosen technique, and if there was any particular sample preparation that you used or that was required.
  3. Support your use of the optical technique in the context of your unknown sample. That is, why did you choose a particular technique or techniques.

Format: Please write a short paper using the standard scientific format:

1.    Abstract

2.    Introduction

3.    Findings/Results

4.    Discussion

5.    Conclusion

6.    References

Your report can be any length, but please try to keep it short. I am not looking for a 50 page report. You may submit it any way you wish (bCourses, Hand-Deliver, DropBox).

Modified 11/13/17