An idea for high-RI diatom mountant

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Lou Jost
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An idea for high-RI diatom mountant

Post by Lou Jost »

I have been frustrated by the lack of availability and price of the more famous high-refractive-index diatom mountants. High RI is needed because diatoms have a refractive index around 1.35-1.4, not that different from water, so they don't show up well. The famous mountants like Naphrax have RI around 1.73-1.74.

By accident today I found that people who work with gems use a high-RI liquid with their refractometers to reveal the RI of their gemstones, a useful clue to a gemstone's identity. This liquid has an RI of 1.8 and is readily available on eBay. Does anyone have any experience with it in microscopy?

Scarodactyl
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Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:26 am

Re: An idea for high-RI diatom mountant

Post by Scarodactyl »

It's kind of dark in color, smells bad and a bit toxic, shouldn't be put on skin. I think it may also be corrosive--it certainly can break down the lead glass of a hemicylinder if left on it.

Lou Jost
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Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:03 am
Location: Ecuador
Contact:

Re: An idea for high-RI diatom mountant

Post by Lou Jost »

Hmm, a liquid that breaks down glass may not be the ideal mountant! The dark color probably won't matter though, since it will be very thin.

Lou Jost
Posts: 5179
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:03 am
Location: Ecuador
Contact:

Re: An idea for high-RI diatom mountant

Post by Lou Jost »

Reading more about the hemicylinders, it seems this is an especially soft and reactive glass. Maybe regular glass would not corrode?

Scarodactyl
Posts: 945
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:26 am

Re: An idea for high-RI diatom mountant

Post by Scarodactyl »

Lead glass is definitely more delicate than your average glass, so it is something to keep in mind.

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