The Zeiss Universal Optical Microscope, which operates in transmission, is used principally for studying the growth of polymer superstructures, such as spherulites. The microscope is equipped with long-working-length objectives, polarizing optics (including an insertable full wave plate), as well as differential interference contrast optics. The utility of the microscope is enhanced by a programmable hot stage (Mettler FP82 or Linkam DSC600). Data are recorded on a color CCD camera (Sony DXC-151A); transformation processes, such as crystallization or melting, can be videotaped and individual frames analyzed with a PC-based frame grabber card (Matrox Meteor) and software (Matrox Inspector).
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