Alstroemeria pollen imaged with SEM by combining the backscattered and secondary electron signals.
Each year we work with lecturers to provide microscopy practicals. This week we have several groups of undergraduate students imaging different pollen structures. Pollen is very easy to prepare for SEM and is beautiful when imaged. The diversity in structure is very impressive. Each time we run the practicals I try to put in a type of pollen that I have not seen before. This year it is alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), which has an amazing surface structure (pictured left). Different types of pollen from previous years are shown below. The images are coloured by Louise Hughes.
Students from University of the Arts, London and Professor Rob Kesseler, Chair of Arts, Design & Science at the university, spent a couple of days in OBBU last week. Another group will be back again this week to use some of our microscopes. Everyday items, samples collected from outside on the day and those prepared in advance were examined using light and electron microscopy. Lots of amazing images and videos have been collected and taken away. We are interested to see what the end results will be! Last week, fibre samples, sponges and different types of material and paper as well as some copper were imaged on the SEM. We have no idea what will be going under the microscopes this week but I am sure the images will end up being fascinating!
Top right: Clothing sample being imaged on the SEM. Bottom right: Inverted SEM image of fibres from a coated and pressed cloth material.