Microscopytoday offers the fibre scientist far more than the mere ability to observemagnified images of his specimens and has become a diverse and complex branchof physical investigation encompassing many previously separate technologies.

Newtypes of microscope are now available commercially - the confocal lightmicroscope, the scanning tunnelling and atomic force microscopes and theenvironmental scanning electron microscope amongst the most important. Each ofthese offers exciting possibilities for the study and investigation of textilematerials, and when combined with the capabilities of the more established'traditional' methods the analytical and experimental power of the microscopehas never been greater.

Techniquesof recording images and information are also changing, thanks largely to thedevelopment of high resolution CCO cameras and digital signal processing.Electronically acquired, processed and edited images are now 'routine' andoccupy negligible storage space. The coupling of instrumental analysistechniques to the microscope has added another dimension to microscopyavailable computing power and the intense monochromatic coherent photons oflaser light have enabled the microscope to be used to provide micro chemicalinformation on fibres. The use of Fourier Transform Infra-Red and Ramanspectroscopies is certain to expand, and they have already been used toinvestigate some of the newer fibres.

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About the Author:

Mrs. Pooja M Katkar is an Assistant Professor of TextileTechnology at the D.K.T.E Textile and Engineering Institute at Ichalkaranji

Nitin Shyamsunder Dhoot is pursuing M.Text in Textile Technologyfrom the D.K.T.E Textile and Engineering Institute at Ichalkaranji

Originally publishedin the 'Textile Review', April, 2012