It has long been known that objects which are opaque in transmitted white light can become translucent in infra-red (IR) light. Its application to palynology was shown by Leclercq (1933) who used an IR filter to cut out the visible light from the specimen coupled with an IR-sensitive film to capture the image. Although the significance of this development was recognized (Walton, 1935), it was never generally used since oxidative methods such as Schulze’s solution are normally successful in clearing exines. The exceptions are opaque palynomorphs from thermally over-mature rocks. Such assemblages have been studied with IR microscopy using either IR-sensitive film on partially cleared material (e.g. Tiwari & Schaarschmidt, 1975) or electronic IR imaging systems (Cramer & Diez, 1972).
The technical sophistication and performance of IR imaging microscopes has recently improved significantly following their routine application for the internal imaging of silicon chips. However, such microscopes are designed for use in reflected light and also rather costly. In addition their design makes them difficult to routinely switch from brightfield transmitted light to IR light without risk of damaging their sensitive IR tube. This note describes a simplified IR microscope for transmitted light which shows how excellent images of opaque spores in the near-IR can be produced using the simplest palynological microscope.
This IR microscope is based around an Olympus BHSM-IR system. This is fitted with a 100W quartz halogen bulb which is essential for providing the required level of IR illumination. However, the only specific IR corrected optics this. . .
- Received May 1, 1995.
- Accepted May 1, 1995.
- © 1995 The Micropalaeontological Society