Posts Tagged tech note

Microscope objectives – NA, cost, and parabolas

We were looking at various microscope objectives – those lenses on the turrets that aim toward the slides. Or, if you’re like me, the expensive silver thing that just went ‘crunch’ on the slide while I was trying to focus the image.
Pete noted that there seemed to be a parabolic curve fit – better NA, numerical aperture, better light collection, and the more expensive the objective lens gets. Here’s the curve, and the supporting data.


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Radiometry explained by NIST

The measurement of light is complicated by a variety of units and concepts that are not used in other fields. For example, the ‘light level’ could be measured in units appropriate to the sensitivity of our eyes (lux), or by the power level (Watts) – but that’s confounded by the wavelength (nano-meters, but sometimes Angstroms) and you need to think in steradians, etendue must be conserved … you get the idea.

We’ve written about some of these issues in earlier posts, but this is one big, complete reference manual – a kind of ‘everything you wanted to know about light, but were afraid to ask’ – and it’s from NIST. They call it a ‘Self-Study Manual’ and it’s a clearly written tutorial on optical radiometry.

And it’s a free download. Enjoy. The test is Tuesday.

link to NIST Self Study Manual on Optical Radiation

The official title is The Self-Study Manual on Optical Radiation Measurements, edited by Fred Nicodemus

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Quantization noise

We notice the assertion that A/D converter quantization noise is equal to ADU/SQRT(12), where ADU is the quantization unit or LSB. We saw this in Hobbs’ excellent book Building Electro-Optical Systems, Making It All Work.

So, we decided to derive this. Took us a while to get the ‘trick’, and to remember how to perform calculus, to get that pesky root-mean-squared function.

Think of the quatization error as a sawtooth function that repeats. Then work out the RMS noise of that sawtooth wave (it happens to be the same as a triangle wave). And, yes, it does work out to that value.

Now the next part is Hobbs’ assertion that this quantization noise is not a Gaussian distribution. Get to work.

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US Energy Use graph

To comprehend how much energy we use, and what goes where, this is great place to start.

Produced at Lawrence Livermore Labs ( this ‘Sankey diagram’ shows the flow of energy from source to destination, shows what gets used and what gets wasted. We found it here:

wiki Quad (energy)

click on the chart to see it larger.  It’s in the public domain.


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Silicon Photodetector Units

Our eyes and silicon light detectors see things differently.

AND the units of photometrics differ from units used by normal MKS systems

here’s an Actinica tech note that tries to sort this out, click link for pdf file


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