Laser Microscope

When I came across Teravolt’s Laser Microscope, I decided that this was something I had to try. For his setup, he used a 250mW laser. While I don’t have anything near that dangerous cool, I do have a bunch of 5mW green lasers laying around. While the 5mW is incredibly bright in a dark room, when the beam is spread for 1mm to a 1 meter circle, the average brightness decreases by 1 million! I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t be strong enough, but there’s only one way to find out.

My setup looks similar to his, but my picture came out much cooler:

As can be seen in the picture, it’s a laser shining through a drop of water hanging from the end of a (disposable) syringe. I first tried a real syringe (with a needle), but the drop was very small; the 10mL dispenser gave much larger drops, simplifying the alignment. The tripods were $1.49 from dealextreme, and the clamps were only $2.71.

#ProTip: put tissues underneath the water dispenser if you use your laptop as a base!

The first images were stunning. The pictures don’t do it just, as it was very hard to capture 5mW using my camera; with ISO boosted to 1600, I was still limited to no less than 1/50 of a second. However, 5mW was more than enough to give amazing visuals to the eye, even if they were hard to capture on the camera.

With the lights on, the pictures weren’t so great:

With the lights off, much better results were achieved:

This video gives the best impression of what it was like:

Note the diffraction, as seen by the concentric rings surrounding everything. I have to think about how to eliminate that; I might need a better laser.

All the pictures are available at my album: Laser Microscope

One response to “Laser Microscope”

  1. Very nice project!

    I would love to see the video you link to, but I’m refusing to install Flash player on my system.
    Flash player, as everyone should know by now, is a security nightmare and a trap door to hell. Also, support for it is quickly dissolving, and it isn’t supported at all anymore on some platforms.

    I tried a few tools to download the flv file so I could play it offline, but none worked.
    Please make this (and other videos perhaps) available in a different format, there are many good alternatives available.

    Kind regards,


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