The petrographic microscope

A petrographic microscope is used to observe a series of characteristics in a mineral which reflect its properties and allow us to identify it.

The petrographic microscope is a compound microscope which can work with plane polarised light, meaning that it has some peculiarities.

This is always done with transmitted plane polarised light, meaning that the polariser must be inserted.

The type of illumination varies according to the feature to be studied, and may be orthoscopic (parallel, without the condenser) or conoscopic (convergent, with the condenser incorporated).

The size of minerals that allows for optical identification is not samaller than 0.010 mm. Identification of cryptocrystalline and amorpous materials can be achieved using submicroscopic techniques such as a scanning electron microscope.

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