National Physical Laboratory

Optical Microscopy and Image Analysis

Optical Microscopy and Image Analysis 

The Optical Microscopy and Image Analysis facility is equipped with a range of instruments to obtain high resolution colour digital images to a maximum microscope magnification of x2,500. The microscopes are fitted with the highest NA (numerical aperture) objectives to ensure the highest resolution of detail. Imaging systems and techniques available include:

  • Leica DMRD research microscope with zoom facility enabling features to be measured at the highest resolution
  • Reichart MeF3 inverted microscope
  • Nikon measuring microscope MM-60
  • Brightfield (reflected / transmitted)
  • Darkfield (reflected / transmitted)
  • Interference contrast
  • Differential Interference contrast
  • Differential Interference Contrast (Normarski)
    Polarised light (reflected / transmitted)
  • Interference film microscopy
  • Oil immersion objectives
  • High resolution imaging up to 4164 by 3120 pixels

UKAS Testing logo 

The Image Analysis facility is accredited to ISO 17025:2005 by UKAS for the sies of microstructural features, Documented in-house method QPMATC/B/197 using optical microscopy. Artefacts traceable to the primary standards at NPL are used for calibration. We actively participate on Standards committees for the development of methods of grain size measurement. NPL is a corporate member of the Royal Microscopical Society (RMS) and supports many of the committees of the RMS. We also offer a consultancy for solving material characterisation problems.

The Image Analysis facility is also supports measurements of images from other sources such as scanning electron microscopes.


Customer Service tel: +44 20 8943 8681

Last Updated: 25 Mar 2010
Created: 10 Sep 2009


Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission