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An Introduction to the Comparison Forensic Microscope

The comparison microscope has become a crucial tool in the field of forensic science. These microscopes are the ideal tool to use when comparing samples or specimens side-by-side, simultaneously. Once considered only a trend in forensic fields such as ballistics, the comparison microscope has become a foundational element in forensic examinations worldwide. Driven by the rise of gun-related crime nationwide, the comparison microscope continues to be improved upon to give forensic scientists the ability to compare tool marks, ballistics, and other firearm-related research.

Seeing Is Believing: The Optics of Comparison Microscopes

Due to the nature of forensic science and its use in investigations involving gun crimes, the optics of comparison microscopes must provide crisp and clear imagery no matter what magnification settings are used.  With its use in evaluations that require precise imaging, comparison microscopes are designed with some of the highest quality optical hardware currently available. Maintaining a centered view of a particular sample, specimen, or toolmark is crucial when utilizing a microscope for investigative purposes. Comparison microscopes optimize parfocality and parcentricity to maintain a clear and centered view of an area under observation, even when adjustments in magnification are made. Comparison microscopes also apply aperture and iris diaphragms to allow investigators to vary the depth of field and contrast while observing a designated area. This is especially useful when examining impressions made from the firing pins of guns as these marks are created at particular depths when a bullet is fired – tool mark impression depth is an example of just one of many unique characteristics left by the contact of a firing pin on the base of a bullet.

The Ergonomics of Comparison Forensic Microscopes

During forensic examinations, it is not uncommon to have several examiners sharing a single microscope in a laboratory setting. Investigators can be of varying heights, leading to a comparison microscope being continually adjusted for different individuals as they work. Strain can be a severe incumbency when attempting to investigate a specimen. Comparison microscopes offer ease-of-use variability for height adjustments and optimized optical angles to ensure examiners can work efficiently and effectively. Digital imaging is more popular now for documentation and also for the visualization of samples on a larger monitor and from a more comfortable and ergonomic position for the viewer(s).

Using Motorized Stage Movement with Comparison Microscopes

Many comparison microscopes use motorized staging to allow specimen investigators the enhanced ability to perform a wide range of applications during the investigative process. With improvements in automating processes, the acquisition of large imagery at very high magnification is streamlined. Stages can be easily synchronized with centralized controls for viewing clarity. 

Additional Microscopes for Trace Evidence Analysis

The team at UNITRON realizes the importance of having multiple tools available in the field of forensic science. Our stereo microscopes provide ease-of-use functionality while still providing superior imagery that can be used to investigate and document evidence. Stereo microscopes are still quite popular in multiple investigative analysis fields, such as law enforcement, fire, environmental applications, and the agricultural industry. For trace evidence analysis, examiners have been utilizing microscopes that incorporate greater magnification, and alternative illumination and contrast methods, specifically polarization. These cutting-edge microscopes enable an investigator to view extremely small fragments of a specimen with significantly improved magnification and clarity. Polarization allows a sample to be displayed with varied coloring that can further detail the aforementioned sample's physical properties. UNITRON’s EXAMET-5 microscope and polarizing microscope provide unique benefits that can be of great assistance to investigators that require superior imaging and clarity, and versatility in magnification and contrast methods when examining a specimen. UNITRON is a leading provider of microscopes and imaging systems that significantly enhance the quality of research across a multitude of fields. Our wide range of microscopes and imaging equipment can be utilized by various researchers to improve data analysis and capture superior results for forensic investigation and research. For more information about UNITRON and how their products can enhance your internal examination processes, contact us today!
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