The standard microscope is a fixture in millions of school, medical, and research laboratories around the world. It is used by grammar school kids and Ph.D. researchers alike, and most of us have at least a rudimentary understanding of how it works.
But there’s another sort of microscope with which most of us are unfamiliar, simply because it is found only in the fiber optics industry. A fiber optic microscope is as specialized as the field in which it is used, and can only be used successfully by those who have been trained to do so.
Fiber optic microscopes are capable of achieving between one hundred and four hundred degrees of magnification, and the level of magnification will depend of the needs of the user. Fiber optic microscopes, because of their specialized nature, are not available from the same sources which provide regular or digital microscopes, and are usually bought by companies instead of individuals.
Kinds Of Fiber Optic Microscopes
Fiber optic microscopes come in several varieties; the simplest of them have eyepieces similar to those on compound microscopes through which their users look. A more sophisticated model of fiber optic microscope has its own video screen; this is the preferred technology for those who use a fiber optic microscope on a regular basis.
A fiber optic microscope is used to provide images of the endfaces of fiber optic connector ferrules, so that any problems with their transmission performance can be seen. The microscope will let its operator detect any dirt, debris, or scratches which may be interfering with the transmission. Most fiber optic microscopes are handheld units, operating for up to forty hours on three or four AAA batteries.
Features Of Fiber Optic Microscopes
If you’re thinking about buying a fiber optic microscope should look for models which include connectors to secure the fiber optic cables; otherwise you’ll find yourself having to struggle to hold the cable steady with one hand and hold the microscope still with the other. The microscopes with cable holders will cost more than those without them, but the time you’ll save inspecting the cables will more than make up for the difference in cost.
There are both optical and electronic fiber optic microscopes; and some of the more expensive models will display the image of the cables on a monitor to spare you from having to look at it through an eyepiece. They are capable of magnifying a three millimeter cable to tennis ball dimensions.
One fiber optic microscope from Prior Scientific is actually software controlled. Because the software is programmed to search for certain characteristics in the microscopic image and pass or fail the cable based on them.