Optical microscopy


Solid and liquid systems;
Composites, materials, organic and inorganic substances, thin layers



  • Device: polarisation microscope JenLab/pol (Carl Zeiss Jena, Germany), Retarmet2 (Carl Zeiss Jena, Germany)
  • Preparation: semi thin cross section with Ultracut S, thin sections with rotationmicrotom VT100E ( Leica, Germany)
  • Heating stage (Likam)
  • Small angle light scattering


Evaluation methods and targets

  • Picture analysis by image processing software (Olympus GmbH, Germany): determination of particle sizes and fiber length, as well its distribution
  • Morphology of cuts, (cryo-)fractures and surfaces
  • Determination of birefringence of fibers and layers
  • Identification of morphological structures in materials from natural and synthetic polymers
  • Investigation of structure-property-correlations depending on production and growth parameters, particularly natural polymers
  • Kinetics of crystallization and growth of spherulites


Application examples

  • Birefringence at a cellulose fiber (→ Image gallery)
  • Semi thin section of a bast fiber (→ Image gallery)
  • Growth of spherulites in PLA-fiber-composite


Comparative and supplementary methods

  • Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • ESCA
© Retarmet 2, Carl Zeiss Jena
Birefringence at a cellulose fiber.
© Fraunhofer IAP
Semi thin section of a bast fiber.