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Cleaning microscope lens surfaces

 
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Rorschach



Joined: 08 Mar 2019
Posts: 112
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 12:41 am    Post subject: Cleaning microscope lens surfaces Reply with quote

I have just finished cleaning a Wild rotating polarizer 367929 and the (outside) two small bottom lenses on the zoom unit of the M8. Especially the polarizer was covered with a pretty hefty oily/greasy film that was difficult to clean.

I achieved a pretty satisfactory result by this protocol: 1) blowing dust off with a manual "bladder" dust removal gadget 2) washing gently in soap solution (water & regular non-liquid soap) by using tiffen lens papers, then rinsing with distilled water 3) repeating an alternating cycle of tiffen lens paper doused in pure isopropyl / lens paper doused in distilled water.

Some stuff still remain near the edges where glass meets metal but that shouldn't influence optical quality. More annoying are the small drying specs that both isopropyl and distilled water seem to leave behind. Any golden tips on that?

Also made the discovery that pressurized, canned air is not good for dust removal: several time the can would spit some liquid on the glass. This splash pattern then had to cleaned off.

What are your protocols for cleaning lenses and other optical surfaces? Tips and discoveries welcome as well, especially nasty/bad ones...those provide the best learning experiences :-)
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pbraub



Joined: 02 Feb 2018
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

my experience with isoproanol is mixed, if you use it out of glass bottels it is fine, if you store it in plastic containers (falcon tubes) it leaves a white residue - i guess there is something dissolving in the isoprop

our olympus service technician uses petroleum ether which evaporates nicely and leaves not marks.

i also tried the approach with xylene and chloroform and it also works nicely. xylene dissolves almost everything but leaves an oily residue, the chloroform takes care of this nicely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz4Dy5D6kdw
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Ichthyophthirius



Joined: 07 Mar 2013
Posts: 993

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

"The clean microscope" from Zeiss is a good start. They have a very cautious approach. The publication also warns explicitly against canned air:

"Do not use any of the optical spray cans containing pressurized liquid air. The pressurized air from these sprays leaves a slight, but difficult to remove, residue."

I use pharmacy grade petroleum ether or condensed breath as the last step, which won't leave traces.

Link: https://microscopy.duke.edu/sites/microscopy.duke.edu/files/file-attachments/The%20Clean%20Microscsope.pdf

Regards, Ichty
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jfiresto



Joined: 18 Nov 2018
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:14 am    Post subject: Re: Cleaning microscope lens surfaces Reply with quote

Rorschach wrote:
... Also made the discovery that pressurized, canned air is not good for dust removal: several time the can would spit some liquid on the glass. This splash pattern then had to cleaned off....

I am a fan of the Giottos rocket air blower, size large:



It is meant for cleaning camera objectives and cameras, but it will blast clean more powerful things, guns, for example. Well, some do say that some old microscopes are well built – like a weapon.
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Rorschach



Joined: 08 Mar 2019
Posts: 112
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks people, great tips! Some of recommended substances aren't suitable for household use, though.

John, mine is somewhat similar to that but of a smaller caliber (gun pun intended).
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lothman



Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 418
Location: Stuttgart/Germany

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ichthyophthirius wrote:
Hi,

"The clean microscope" from Zeiss is a good start.

Regards, Ichty


I use that solution recommended by Zeiss, 85% n-hexan and 15% Isopropanol both in pure quality. No residue, cleans excellent and no problems to plastic.

I fill it in a drip glass bottle so that I do not contaminate the bottle opening.

Micro fiber cloth also works good for cleaning.
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Perl



Joined: 03 Oct 2006
Posts: 262
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.astroshop.eu/lens-cleaners/baader-lens-cleaning-pump-spray-optical-wonder-100ml/p,10928
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iconoclastica



Joined: 25 Jun 2016
Posts: 262
Location: Wageningen, Gelderland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ichthyophthirius wrote:
I use pharmacy grade petroleum ether or condensed breath as the last step, which won't leave traces.

Link: https://microscopy.duke.edu/sites/microscopy.duke.edu/files/file-attachments/The%20Clean%20Microscsope.pdf


That Zeiss manual tells to use petroleum ether with boiling point <44 degrees. How does that translate to the boiling ranges on the label (should the lower one or the upper one be less than 44 degrees)?
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Rorschach



Joined: 08 Mar 2019
Posts: 112
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pär, thanks for the tip. I will definitely try that one!
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discomorphella



Joined: 01 Oct 2006
Posts: 606
Location: NW USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My cleaning solution changes depending on the nature of the filth...

First pass (if I don't know if the dirt/stain is polar or nonpolar or a mix of several components) is usually Edmund Optics cleaner. This is a mixture of Butyl Cellosolve and 2-Propanol, which is a good intermediate polar solvent mixture. If this removes the problem successfully I follow it up with reagent grade ethanol or similar, and dried off with a filtered electronic-grade freon dust-off. I use Berkshire LensX-90 optical wipes.
Where I can see (using a stereo scope or hand lens) that the contamination is a salt then the first pass is distilled water, repeated if needed if this works. Followed up with EtOH as above.
If the problem is more greasy then 1:1 diethyl ether : ethanol is my goto, although xylene or hexanes also work well.
I do store all my cleaning solvents like xylene in glass bottles with teflon-lined caps. The exception is the Edmund solvent mix which comes in a plastic bottle, but its for gross removal. Any residue that it leaves gets removed by the final solvent pass.
I have seen really horrible surface contamination get dealt with using SDS (basically shampoo) to clean off a heavy coat of polymerized organics from a UV optical system. Followed by a solvent.
Good luck and happy cleaning.
David
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