If you’ve ever attended any optical or photonic conferences, you’ve likely seen demos of digital microscopes by Dino-Lite, a brand name for Omano Microscopes and others companies like Andonstar Microscopes, National Optical, OptixCam, and more.

Unlike traditional classroom or laboratory optical microscopes, digital versions replace the eyepiece with a digital camera that feed into a monitor. Thanks to advances in computer display resolution, digital microscopes can produce amazing visuals for everything from cells and micro-organisms to the details of integrated circuits and PCBs (see videos).

By digitizing optical images, users can calculate measurements in software, share results around the globe and often conduct real-time tests and diagnostics. Such advantages might be the reason that digital microscopes are used in multiple market sectors including academics, manufacturing, quality control, semiconductors, healthcare, and electronics.

Digital microscopes are great for displaying tiny objects like ants, gears and chips to even bacteria on a microscopic slide. However, the specimen on the slide must still be fixed and stained to be seen by a digital microscope. If a user needs to witness cellular structures and interactions in real time, then a new technology known as digital holographic microscopy is needed.

Digital holographic microscope, such as those from the Imec R&D center in Belgium, replace the traditional optical lens with a lens-free image sensor. Holographic image reconstruction algorithms then convert the image sensor data into a visual image of amazing interactive detail.

Check out the videos below to see live demonstrations of digital microscopes from the SPIE Photonics West events.

John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier.