Troubleshooting with Several Samples from a Tree

I conducted this project as part of Professor Pringle’s EEB321 class at Princeton University.

The image below features the leaf sample I examined with my constructed Foldscope. I selected this leaf sample as well as bark and fruit samples from the same tree outside Lewis Science Library at Princeton University. I first attempted to examine the bark sample, but had great difficulty observing anything in the Foldscope, presumably because the sample was too opaque? After that trial, I reasoned that it would be similarly difficult to obtain a good view of the fruit sample due to opacity as well as an inability to get a thin slice of the fruit. Next, I placed a leaf sample in the Foldscope, and I had relative success viewing this sample! As shown in the photo below, the Foldscope magnified the structures of the leaf, revealing individual cells. 

To me, one of the most intriguing aspects of the Foldscope is that it requires relatively few additional tools and resources, presenting a user-friendly and practical way for those without access to lab equipment to utilize a microscope. Through my brief experience troubleshooting with different samples, I wonder if a strong light source (such as the flashlight of a phone) and/or a particular sample type (not too opaque and thin enough) are additional requirements? 

One Comment Add yours

  1. jholmes says:

    Yes, I wonder what you might see if you got even thinner than a leaf. How might you get an even thinner sample of a plant?

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