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$1,799
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Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, September 4 2015 4:12 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated October 20, 2016

Petrographic Analyzer for Geoscientists

The Petrographic Analyzer turns any optical instrument into a Polarizing Microscope! It's a Geologist's must have!

Petrographic Analyzer for Geoscientists

The Petrographic Analyzer turns any optical instrument into a Polarizing Microscope! It's a Geologist's must have!

$1,799
pledged of $35,000pledged of $35,000 goal
11
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, September 4 2015 4:12 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated October 20, 2016

About

If you've never taken an advanced course in the geosciences... then it's likely that you've never seen an image like the one below.

Hornblende and Plagioclase in Thin Section
Hornblende and Plagioclase in Thin Section

This is an image of a geological thin section, which represents the crystalline matrix and composition of a particular rock type. In the past, the only way to see properties such as these would have been to place a paper thin slice of rock onto a polarizing or petrographic microscope, which is distinguished from the more usual biological microscope in that it is equipped with a rotating stage and two polarizing filters - one below the sample and one above it.

Petrographic Microscope
Petrographic Microscope

The problem is, polarizing microscopes are expensive and the reason why you've never seen images like those shown in the video is because access is limited to geology students and research professionals.

This is a problem considering that many of the most intimidating subjects can be taught and understood in the context of geology. The Andes of South America are mostly made from a rock called Andesite, which contains minerals such as Plagioclase, Pyroxene and Hornblende. These minerals can be further broken down into compounds containing elements such as Calcium, Sodium, Iron, Silicon, Aluminum and Oxygen; only to name a few. This demonstration is one logical approach to instructing young students about atoms.

Similarly, much of what we know about evolution comes from fossils found in the rock record. These rocks contain minerals, structures and other depositional features that provide information about the origin and time of formation. Seeing these features is a thruway to plate tectonics, which is one of Earth's greatest natural examples of popular mechanics and physics.

So for reasons we're obviously passionate about, we wanted to develop a low-cost solution to the petrographic microscope that would allow students in primary and secondary schools to experience information that has never been available to them in the past.

Petrographic Analyzer
Petrographic Analyzer

That's why we've created the Petrographic Analyzer. The Petrographic Analyzer can be used in conjunction with any stereoscope or hand lens. It also allows the user to polarize the slide and rotate the stage. The analyzer is internally illuminated for basic observation applications. This makes observing the sample easy to do with any existing stereoscope, but also provides flexibility when imaging. For example, images can even be taken with a camera phone.

For more professional applications, the observer will never lose context of the sample. This is important for quantitating your observations and provides more flexibility when examining the sample. The windows in the side of the analyzer permit the use of external light sources such as fiber optic lights and other camera flashes. Since all of the light is deflected off of a white surface, the light is diffuse enough to allow for extremely high resolution imaging.

50x Pyroxene and Chlorite
50x Pyroxene and Chlorite

The above is an image of Pyroxene and Chlorite at 50x magnification. It yields details beyond clay scale and down to 1 micron in size.

Currently, the analyzer is a 3D printed hardware component with a magnetic base, which stabilizes the apparatus on any stand. The polarizer itself is detachable and can be fixed onto any lens, a stereoscope or placed directly on top of the stage for observation purposes.

A realistic sense of where the project stands — including what’s been accomplished so far, and what work remains to be done -

A patent has been filed for the Petrographic Analyzer and the product is currently ready for petrographic and micro-structural analysis.  It functions as it should and will work with any existing optical devices you have in the lab.  

The Petrographic Analyzer Works With:

  • Hand Lenses
  • Cell Phone Cameras
  • Digital Camera
  • USB Microscopes
  • Stereoscopes
  • DSLR Cameras
  • Macro Lenses
  • Focus Stacking Gear

It is currently less than elegant because it's printed on a 3D printer, but still looks quite professional.  Support through Kickstarter will help us rebuild the device from Aluminum, which will be anodized and painted black.  

A demonstration of the product’s current core functionality, and give backers an insight into the internal workings of your creation 

The key innovation is a closed box containing overhead light sources (A), which aimed towards the basal diffuser (B) in order to reflect light. This type of illumination is softer and more even than direct illumination, which is standard in all microscopes. This method of illuminating slides and thin sections reduces glare that is produced by the light source and yields better quality images when used with external optical, observational and imaging devices (F).

Light Path
Light Path

The basal diffuser (B) is a matte white surface that absorbs and reflects light towards the polarizer (18) and UV or other transparent filter (16), which act as the primary stage (C) of the apparatus. The stage assembly (C) contains rotating rings that secure the polarizing filter and UV filter and further allows the independent or joint rotation of these filters. Rotation is achieved manually by hand, but future models will be motorized. This enables the user to see extinction angles that further elucidate characteristics that help to identify the various components within a sample. For example, the mineral quartz turns white, gray and black depending on the degree of rotation, which is called undulose extinction.

The analyzer (20) is located anywhere between the sample (E) and the observer, external optical, observational and imaging devices (F). This analyzer (20) is mounted directly on top of the UV or other transparent filter (16), handheld or mechanically mounted in the empty space (D) or mounted directly onto external optical, observational and imaging devices (F). The analyzer (20) contains a rotating ring that secures the polarizing filter and is capable of being independently rotated. This allows the observer to examine distinctive optical properties such as pleochroism, extinction angles, etc. Pleochroism is when certain colors and features turn on and off within certain minerals, tissues, solutions, etc. and further enable the observer to identify each of the various components comprising sample E when observed with cross polars. For example, the mineral olivine appears transparent without cross polars and appears bright, blue, purple and green with a wavy texture when observed with cross polars.

The entire assembly from (16-20) is capable of being manually rotated by hand because certain researchers use precise angles to further distinguish and characterize optical properties that are critical to know for purposes relating to oil and gas exploration, mining and scientific research. The ability to manually rotate (16), (18), and (20) simultaneously and independently from one another allows the researcher to be more efficient when using devices like the Macropod by Macroscopic Solutions (www.macroscopicsolutions.com).

Close-up photos and/or video demos to show the product details and functions

**Demos in the Video**

Petrographic Macropod
Petrographic Macropod
 

Sample Images can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/107963674@N07/sets/72157646870953988

The help we're seeking from this campaign will fund three total phases:

Phase 1) The first phase is to enable automatic rotation of the stage and polarizers. This allows every degree of rotation to be photographed automatically so that researchers may easily and accurately document pleochroism and extinction angles within certain crystals.

Phase 2) The second phase includes design changes that will make the analyzer more elegant and robust. We intend to produce the analyzers from aluminum, which allows for smoother mechanics and provides a much sturdier platform.

Phase 3) The third phase is less of an improvement to the technology, but more of an improvement towards availability. The analyzer will be priced low enough to reach students in the primary and secondary education levels but, the supply of thin sections and samples are extremely low.

We kindy ask you to please donate any old or unused thin sections lying around that no longer serve your purpose. We will assemble all donations and put together kits of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and thin sections and then donate them to anyone purchasing the analyzer for educational purposes.  Even if your thin sections are missing labels, we will take the time to identify the samples for you.

Please Mail All Samples to:

Macroscopic Solutions 

1 Technology Dr 

Tolland, CT 06084

On behalf of Macroscopic Solutions, we thank you for your generous support as we continue to strive to inspire discovery and support the education of our students pursuing fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We strongly believe that observations such as these remind our students about the curiosities they have surrounding our natural world!

Credits: 

Music by: E.S. Posthumus, Estremoz

Nautuilus PaleoAerie http://paleoaerie.org/2013/ 

Ammonite Image Dirk Wiersma http://fineartamerica.com/featured/ammonite-fossil-thin-section-dirk-wiersma.html 

Sediment Schematic: Fossil Lab Brooklyn College Geology http://userhome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/grocha/lab/evolve.html 

 Geological Thin Section Slides https://www.earlytech.com/earlytech/item?id=543

Risks and challenges

One obstacle associated with the development of this product is related to the cost of manufacturing. Hand machined aluminum parts require a significant amount of time to produce and are more expensive than injection molding. Therefore, we really want to be able to offer our future customers a well-built petrographic diffuser that will stand the test of time and we're concerned as to wether or not the product will need to be injection molded or hand machined.

The biggest problem I see is pushing this technology into the high school curriculum. In my experience, it really does take one amazing observation to rekindle the curiosities we've all had about the world around us. It's technologies like these that push students pass the point of being intimidated by science and instead, captivated by it. In order to make this work, we need strong support from donors willing to supply us with old thin section samples.

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    Will you be attending the Geological Society of America meeting in Baltimore MD this year? If so, Macroscopic Solutions will image 3 of your samples live at their booth and give you full rights to the images.

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    Macroscopic Solutions will send you TWO 3D printed Petrographic Analyzers! Will ship in the order supported by backers.

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    Macroscopic Solutions will work with you remotely to image a selection of samples that will benefit your research project.

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    We will ship you the first version of the motorized analyzer in the NEW aluminum body when it's ready!

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    Macroscopic Solutions will send you the current version of the 3D printed Petrographic Analyzer!

    We will ship you the first version of the motorized analyzer in the NEW aluminum body when it's ready!

    Will ship in the order supported by backers.

    Macroscopic Solutions will work with you remotely to image a selection of samples that will benefit your research project.

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    Will send you 16x20" prints of the entire selection of images captured in addition to the digital files.

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    GOLD Backer!

    Macroscopic Solutions will send you the current version of the 3D printed Petrographic Analyzer!

    We will ship you the FIRST version of the motorized analyzer in the NEW aluminum body when it rolls off of production!

    Macroscopic Solutions will work with you remotely to image a selection of samples that will benefit your research project.

    http://macroscopicsolutions.com/store/product-category/imaging_services/imaging-services/

    Will send you 16x20" prints of the entire selection of images captured in addition to the digital files.

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    THANK YOU! FOR YOUR REWARD, MACROSCOPIC SOLUTIONS WILL LET YOU SELECT ANY IMAGE FROM IT'S DATABASE TO WHICH YOU WILL CLAIM FULL OWNERSHIP OF.

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Funding period

- (30 days)