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How to remove Oil or Water from an Objective

It is important to remove all of the immersion media from the objective once you have finished for the day. Immersion media (water, oil, glycerin) that is left behind can quickly dry and adhere itself to the objective. The objective becomes unusable for the next user once this has happened. Dry immersion media is possible to remove but it can be difficult so I would rather not do this too often. Plus, it takes time away from the next user. Further, removing the remaining immersion medium will reduce the risk of it getting into the objective and the microscope causing unnecessary and expensive damage. So, now that you have done such a great job adding the immersion media and collecting beautiful images (for a Nature or Science paper of course), why not complete the microscopy experience by cleaning the objective?

In addition to cleaning the objective at the end of your session, you may find you need to add more immersion medium as you image multiple samples. You will most likely notice that some oil remains on your sample as you remove it from the stage insert. After one or two samples there may not be enough left over for you to image properly. Be sure to remove all of the immersion medium before you add more. While some of the immersion medium will remain attached to your sample, some will remain on the objective. Adding an additional drop may lead to some immersion medium spilling over the edge of the objective. Repeating this over and over may lead to the aforementioned expensive damage.

When should you clean the objective?

  1. If you feel you need more immersion media to image your sample
  2. When you are done imaging
  3. If you have accidentally added immersion media to an air objective (in this case, please notify me so that I may clean the objective thoroughly)

Here is a simple protocol on how this is done:

  1. Remove your sample from the microscope stage
  2. Remove the stage insert (not necessary but helpful)
  3. Fold a piece of lens paper in half (not a kimwipe!)
  4. Gently wipe one side of the cone of the objective (just the weight of your finger provides enough pressure)
  5. Using a clean section of the lens paper, wipe the other side of the cone of the objective
  6. Using another clean section of the lens paper, gently wipe directly across the nose of the objective (the center). Do not scrub. Go in one direction only.
  7. Repeat steps 3 - 6 until no more immersion medium is seen on the lens paper, using a new piece of lens paper each time

Please click here to watch an awesome and informative video on how to remove immersion media from a microscope objective. Enjoy!

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