ioLight launches new pocket microscope with wider field of view

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ioLight pocket microscope with wide field of view

ioLight are pleased to announce the availability of a new version of the portable microscope to complement the original version. The original pocket microscope has a field of view (width of the area viewed by the microscope) of 1 mm, and resolution of 1 micron. This delivers superb quality images to an iPhone or iPad but still folds flat to fit in your jacket pocket, and will remain available for those who need the best resolution.

For some applications including animal and fish parasites, cell culture, electronic component inspection, the objects being viewed are larger than 1 mm, so a larger field of view is required.

To address this need, ioLight have developed a version of the portable microscope which doubles the field of view of to 2 mm. This change also has the advantage of extending the distance from the lens to the object (working distance) but reducing the resolution to approximately 2 microns.

The photo below shows 2 images of a pond water larvae – the left-hand image is taken with the original ioLight microscope with 1 mm field of view and 1 micron resolution, and the right-hand image shows the same larvae imaged with the new 2 mm field of view, 2 micron resolution version. The right-hand image clearly shows how more of the larvae is visible, thus making it easier to identify the larger parasites. The images in this post have been compressed for easy viewing on-line.

Images comparing the standard ioLight pocket microscope with the new wide field of view version

This new microscope looks the same as the original product, but has ‘F.O.V. 2mm’ engraved on the end of the mast to distinguish it from the original version. Other features, such as the 2 illuminators, glass sample stage, rechargeable Li-ion battery and operation with iPhone or iPad remain the same.

If you would like to buy a wide field of view version of the ioLight microscope, please contact us.  You can get a wide field of view version as a reward for investing in our Crowdfunding campaign –


The science – Why does increasing the field of view decrease the resolution?

There is some fundamental science behind this. The ioLight pocket microscope captures 5 mega pixel (MP) images which are 2592 x 1944 pixels. To achieve 1 micron resolution each pixel must represent less than 0.5 microns on the object – this requirement is set by Nyquist’s theorem. With an image from an ioLight microscope 2592 pixels wide and a field of view of 1 mm, each pixel equates to approximately 0.4 microns.

In the new version the image is still 5MP and 2592 pixels wide, so with the 2 mm field of view this means each pixel represents approx. 0.8 microns, and so Nyquist’s theorem tell us that the resolution is limited to a little better than 2 microns.

Using Nyquist’s theorem applied to the camera chip like this only tells us what the minimum resolution is – for this resolution to be achieved in practice, the performance of the lens and illuminator has to be such that it also deliver an image with the required resolution. ioLight have carefully matched the lens and illuminator to the camera chip and resolution, such that the minimum resolution predicted by Nyquist’s theorem is achieved for most samples.

Zooming in on the winner of an ioLight portable microscope

Laboratory News recently ran a competition to win an ioLight portable microscope by identifying three laboratory quality images taken with our digitally connected iPhone pocket microscope. The images were published in three successive issues of the magazine and the competition winner was revealed last week. If you want to learn more about the mobile laboratory digital microscopes there is a great video describing it in our crowdfunding pitch here.

The only clues entrants were given were that they were all objects that you find around the house, and the field of view was 1 mm wide. It is amazingly difficult to identify even everyday objects when you look at them in microscopic detail. Even a seemingly boring piece of metal or plastic has amazing detail when you look at it with the high resolution microscope, and if you ever get to look at just a simple leaf, you will be really surprised at all the detail you are normally completely unaware of. Look at the images below, find a similar object around your house and then see if you can work out exactly which part of the object the picture is showing!

The first image was of an embossed number on a credit card:

Embossed number of credit card viewed under microscope. ioLight pocket microscope

The second image was a tea bag:

Tea bag view under microscope. ioLight pocket microscope

And the final image was not a space invaders game, but in fact was an LCD screen on a smart phone:

Smart phone screen view with a microscope. ioLight pocket microscope

The winner was Adrian Rogers, who is already out and about using his field microscope! He is already posting images to social media direct from the iPhone that he uses with the microscope. We liked his tweet of a picture of a ‘lateral flow device’ taken with the microscope, which really shows off the 1 micron resolution. Pregnancy tests are the most common type of lateral flow device, but when we asked if congratulation were in order, Adrian said ‘shhhh that’s how rumours start’ and explained that it was a lateral flow device for food allergen detection!

ioLight microscope competition winner

Micro-plastic particles in cosmetics cause pollution

Micro-plastic particles are often in the news. These particles, much less that 1mm in size, are now proving to be just as much of a problem for marine wild life than ‘traditional’ pollution caused by large plastic items (bags, bottles etc). Unfortunately this new pollution is invisible and you need a field microscope, such as the ioLight to see it. The tiny particles get eaten by fish and other marine life but are so small that they get lodged in the digestive system, or even absorbed into the blood stream. The particles then build up in the fish causing a variety of health problems not only to the fish, but potentially to the animals that eat the fish – including humans!

This pollution is a relatively new phenomenon and is caused by the increasing use of huge quantities of plastic micro-particles in cosmetics, including facial scrubs. The micro-particles are used as a low-cost abrasive to gently exfoliate skin. The facial scrubs are washed off the skin and go down the drain with the waste water. Because these plastic particles are so small – typically between 5-500 microns – they are not removed from the waste water by conventional sewage treatment plants, and so remain in the treated water and are discharged into the sea. Worst of all, the particles then remain floating in the sea for many years because they are made from low-cost conventional plastics that don’t biodegrade.

Using the ioLight high resolution portable microscope to perform field microscopy we can easily see these nasty particles:

Plastic micro-particles in facial scrub taken with the ioLight field microscope

Plastic micro-particles in facial scrub taken with the ioLight field microscope to perform field microscopy.

The picture shows that this facial scrub (made by a very well known cosmetics company) contains several different sizes of rough plastic micro-particles. The large particles are roughly 0.5mm in size and visible to the naked eye, whereas the smallest particles are 5-10 µm and are invisible without a pocket microscope. It is these tiny fragments that are causing so many problems since they are easily eaten by fish and other marine life, but they are too small for the digestive system to excrete and so they build up in the animal causing harm.

There are a number of scientists working to quantify the effects of this new type of pollution including Prof Tamara Galoway at Exeter University, who has bought an ioLight microscope for her work. Several scientific studies have been published including this one from North Carolina State University.

After we looked at my daughter’s facial scrub with the ioLight pocket microscope, we put all of it in the dustbin to go to land fill – the lesser of two evils, when it comes to the polluting effects of these plastic micro-particles.

Bayer takes delivery of 10 ioLight microscopes

Bayer uses ioLight microscopes

Bayer takes delivery of ioLight microscopes

ioLight is delighted to announce that Bayer plc has purchased 10 microscopes for its Practice Support Advisors.

These veterinary nurses carry the compact ioLight compact microscopes in their bags. They are always ready to show customers how much damage parasites can do to pets and farm animals unless they are properly treated with Advocate®, Baycox® and other company products. Armed with the ioLight microscopes the team can show vets parasites such as Angiostrongylus vasorum and Eimeria bovis, which can make precious pets or valuable livestock seriously ill.

Christopher Chick, National Sales, Key Account Manager says: “Using the ioLight microscope gives our customers a clear and immediate insight into how much damage these parasites can cause and how Bayer’s Animal Health products can prevent and treat these conditions.”

Andrew Monk, Founder of ioLight, met the team at Bayer’s Berkshire headquarters for a morning’s training. The Practice Support Advisors learned how to capture brilliantly clear images and videos on their tablets and smart phones and share them with colleagues. They even took pictures of their own cells showing off the laboratory grade resolution of the compact ioLight instrument.

ioLight invites all of our friends, customers and supporters to join the company by investing in our currently crowd funding campaign at

The investment round is open to anybody. Investing £7,500 wins a free microscope for a school of your choice, £3,000 gets A shares with voting rights and the average investment is about £1,000. £100 is a useful contribution and just £10 moves the ioLight pitch back to the top of Crowdcube’s Investment Opportunities Page, where it will get noticed. So nobody should invest more than they can afford.

Come and meet Andrew, Richard and the microscope in London on Thursday 23rd February. Details at

Capital at Risk

Rock in a surprising place

Yesterday we demonstrated the ioLight field microscope at The University of Oxford’s Earth Sciences department. Owen Green (also fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society@RoyalMicroSoc ) had some fantastic rock samples to test the ioLight pocket microscope with, including this rather exciting one.

ioLight pocket microscope uk - Sedimentary rock from summit of Everest courtesy of Owen Green, University of Oxford, Earth Sciences. Taken with ioLight pocket microscope

ioLight pocket microscope uk

We took the above image with the ioLight pocket microscope. The image is 1mm wide showing a polished section of rock. (ioLight pocket microscope)

If you are a geology expert, you will recognise this as a rather nice section through a sedimentary rock – ie one that was formed from debris that has accumulated at the bottom of the sea. This doesn’t sound that exciting until you find out where the rock sample came from – the summit of Mount Everest!  – proof that the tip of the highest mountain on earth was once at the bottom of the sea.

Faecal egg counting with the ioLight microscope

Parasite infections are common in cattle, sheep, horses and chickens and other animals and cause both suffering to the animal and loss of revenue for farmers. In the past farmers have often treated parasites with routine use of antimicrobial drugs (antibiotics). However extensive use of antimicrobials is causing antimicrobial resistance to build in parasites, potentially leading to untreatable infections and concerns with the antimicrobials entering the food chain and water supply.

To reduce this problem, farmers, horse owners and vets can test their animals to see if there is an infection that needs treating before giving the drugs, thus reducing unnecessary use of the drugs. This is done by counting parasite eggs in a sample of the animal faeces and then only using drugs if a significant number of disease causing parasite eggs are found.

Faecal egg counting is done by dissolving the faeces is water, adding salt solution to make the eggs float to the top, then putting a small amount of the this into a McMaster counting chamber and using a microscope to count the eggs.

Traditionally this is done be sending faeces samples to a lab and waiting for a day or 2 for the results. But using the ioLight high resolution field microscope this can be done in the field or in the back of a car thus reducing time before treatment can start and avoiding lab fees.

Below are images of parasite eggs taken with the ioLight high res digital microscope using a McMaster chamber. The lines in the images are the counting lines on the McMaster chamber. The chamber has 10 parallel lines, 1mm apart and 10mm long – you count all the eggs between the lines multiply up by a dilution by a factor to get an estimate of the concentration of eggs in the faeces.

Faecal parasite egg in McMaster counting chamber. Taken with ioLight field microscope.

Faecal parasite egg in McMaster counting chamber. Taken with ioLight field microscope.

Faecal parasite egg in McMaster counting chamber.

#TheVideoShow reviews the ioLight video

ioLight portable microscope video review

#TheVideoShow 64 ioLight pocket microscope video

Great video, tiny microscope

Every company needs a video! On a hot summer’s day in 2016 ioLight’s Andrew Monk went pond dipping in Whitchurch’s beautiful Millenium Meadow with Mark Harman of Red Book Productions. The result was ioLight’s Product Demonstration video, which shows Andrew using the ioLight pocket microscope in the field.

A couple of months later, and several degrees cooler,  Mark and Andrew met up again to discuss how they made the microscope video and how it has helped ioLight’s business.

You can watch their conversation in episode 64 of #TheVideoShow.

Lab resolution in your pocket

The ioLight video field microscope is the world’s first portable high resolution microscope. It delivers beautiful images and videos from the microscope directly onto a tablet or phone so that the whole team can see and share them. Image quality is similar to that of a laboratory microscope, but the ioLight microscope fits into your pocket, so you can take it anywhere.

The ioLight pocket microscope is already being used by Cambridge and Exeter universities, Bayer, The Eden Project and many other researchers and teachers that want to take science into the field or seminar room without compromising on quality.

In the video, ioLight’s Andrew Monk explains his personal passion for communicating science. The ioLight microscope is an invaluable tool for STEM education because it is so portable and simple to use but still delivers great quality images that are easy to paste into homework or Nobel Prize winning reports. Young scientists particularly love seeing images and videos from the microscope on the screen of a tablet, which is less complicated than a traditional laboratory microscope and less expensive too.

Watch #TheVideoShow to see how Mark and Andrew got on making the video and how easy it is to use compared with a laboratory microscope.

Eden Project endorses the world’s first portable high resolution microscope

The Eden Project uses the ioLight microscope to investigate plant disease

eden-2-6-10-16ioLight is delighted to announce that the Eden Project is now a customer and using the ioLight pocket microscope in their study of plant disease and soil samples.

Launched in 2016, the ioLight microscope is the first professional quality pocket digital microscope. It fits in a jacket pocket, is simple to use and robust. It unfolds quickly to record and share 5MP still images and real time HD video at a magnification of x200 on an iPad Air.

Based in Cornwall, England, the Eden Project is an educational charity that is nestled in a huge crater which was formerly a china clay pit. It includes two massive Biomes – the larger one housing the largest rainforest in captivity, the other showcasing areas of the world that have a Mediterranean climate. Both the covered biomes and the outdoor area contain stunning plants and exhibitions.

The Eden Project trialled the ioLight microscope for a number of months, mainly looking at plant disease and soil samples but also for public demonstrations, before making their decision to purchase.
Chris Bisson, Policy Development Manager at the Eden Project, says “Here at the Eden Project we have used the ioLight Digital Microscope for a wide range of activities, from investigating plant diseases to
demonstrating the microscopic world of pond water to school children. It’s really easy to use and has been brilliant for enthusing both children and adults in the microscopic world around us.”

The resolution of the ioLight microscope is 1 micron, that’s 1/1,000 mm – powerful enough to see the structure of plant and animal cells. The product uses standard microscope slides and features adjustable top and bottom illumination for use on both biological and opaque samples. It is particularly good for live samples, which deteriorate on the journey back to the lab, and it works anywhere, even without a WiFi or mobile phone network. at what can one of the most stressful times for animal owners.

Rachel Warmington, Plant Pathologist at Eden, has been using the microscope in her study of Panama disease, a disease that has no chemical control and threatens to destroy the world’s supply of bananas.

The portability of the ioLight microscope has been particularly useful as it is imperative that no pathogens are allowed entry into the Biomes.
In addition, Rachel has been looking at the powdery mildew Erysiphe graminis synonym Blumeria graminis which has ascospores of 20-24 microns x 10-14 microns. “Having a personal microscope has proved extremely useful and is a great way to capture images.”

Last year, more than 47,000 school children visited Eden, and with an increase expected this year the microscope is a wonderful opportunity for children to experience science up close. It is perfect for field trips: students and teachers can carry portable microscopes in their bags and connect them to personal tablets or phones.

Just as the compact digital camera made photography available to anyone, the ioLight microscope is always available to look at pond water, plant cells and anything else that comes to hand.

Portable Microscopy Sells Micro-Engineering

 Portable Field Microscopy - Great article in Micro Matters iolight article dec 2016

Portable Field Microscopy – Great article in Micro Matters.

Portable Field Microscopy: Great article in Micro Matters about the ioLight portable microscope – read the article on page 22

ioLight in the spotlight at UK’s largest innovation show

ioLight in the spotlight at UK’s largest innovation show

ioLight from Hampshire was one of 25 trailblazing innovators from across the country to launch new innovations and products at Innovate 2016 this week.

The two-day event in Manchester was hosted by the Department for International Trade and Innovate UK and is the largest cross-sector innovation show in the UK.

ioLight exhibited their new portable field microscope – the first portable digital microscope which delivers lab quality images to your iPad or iPhone.

Innovate UK Chief Executive Ruth McKernan said: “I congratulate ioLight on their success in winning a place and thank them for their involvement in our annual flagship show of innovation excellence across the UK. This year we saw an increase in the number of companies launching new products at the event. It is important for Innovate UK to support the showcasing of companies’ achievements, helping to raise visibility of their brand and demonstrating the impact that results from our support.”

Richard Williams, co-founder of ioLight said “ Innovate 2016 has been a great success for ioLight – everyone loved our 1 micron resolution portable microscope and we have received numerous compliments on the quality of the images, ease of use and design of the product. We even sold a microscope on the stand and the BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones saw the microscope and tweeted about us!”