DIY projects to enhance the capabilities of the Microscope.

DIY Climate Control Unit [update]

By Macsylver on Sunday 18 March 2018 15:54 - Comments (3)
Category: Microscope, Views: 2.635

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*l1s-jpyZu_PjRBvwLWMYLw.jpeg
The final result of the Climate Chamber that fits around the microscope.


CREATING AN OPTIMAL TEAR CRYSTALLISATION ENVIRONMENT

THE PROCESS & CREATION OF THE DIY MICROSCOPE CLIMATE CHAMBER & CLIMATE CONTROL UNIT.

In order to get better and more consistent results for the project Imaginarium of tears, it’s important to standardise the evaporation and crystallisation process of tear fluids. To do this, I would need to create a climate chamber around the microscope, and a climate control unit to control the temperature and humidity within that climate chamber at preset values.

With the experiments done for the Tear Collection Kit, data tells me that the optimal temperature and humidity of such a climate chamber would be around 12 Celsius and 40% humidity.

Example of the tear evaporation and crystallisation process.

To do this I would need to upgrade the microscope by building my own DIY climate chamber and a climate control unit.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*dBoXVq99jRiP1tPRy8f4jQ.png
Current Microscope Setup with the DIY scanning stage.

Knowing that the microscope had an optional incubator mentioned in its original manual, I went on the internet to see if I could buy the old incubator. Unfortunately as I expected, finding only the casing and or the control box was not easy. Setups where only sold together with the microscope, making it too expensive to justify. Other options like a 3rd party manufacturer where not supporting this microscope or where also just to dam expensive.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*WKXrU1Guj7jSypxoYhH9DQ.png
The original optional Incubator mentioned in the original manual as available accessory.


1.) The Climate Chamber:
With the information available form the manual and images from the internet, I decided to design the Climate Chamber myself. Below you can see the preview of the climate chamber, designed by measuring the specific parts of the microscope insuring a snug fit. Tho I did make some adjustments when it came to the “original incubator” design.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*V9dowlJcANMLUa7X1H-uMQ.jpeg
Click link to open the fusion 360 file and review the Climate Chamber model: http://a360.co/2F5LfVD

Things that where adjusted :
  • Brackets to connect to the microscope.
  • Smaller casing, shorter on the left and right side.
  • Placement and type of manipulator doors, no hinges but sliding doors.
  • In and outtake exhaust to later connect the climate control unit.
  • Use of “connectors” in the corners. No glue needed, everything is build modulair with nuts and bolts. This is an important design change, due to traveling everything needs to be easily disassembled into a flatpack.
The idea is to 3D print all of the black parts using my Ultimaker 2+, 3D printer. All transparent parts will be made out of 5mm Plexiglas, and laser cut to achieve high accuracy and quality.

You would almost say “Why not build a big case around the microscope? “


2. ) Climate control unit:
The second part I’m now working on is designing the “climate control unit”. A far more expensive and complicated design then the climate chamber itself. Essentially the climate control unit needs to be able to cool, heat, humidify and dehumidify. This to provide the set temperature and humidity within the climate chamber that is placed around the microscope.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*3BE9CwLpAyqp86GWgDdhdA.jpeg
Latest design of the Climate Control Unit that will be controlling the temperature and humidity within the Climate Chamber.

Most important for this design, reaching the ideal tear crystallisation temperature and humidity. But to enlarge the potential in the future, the system will be build to reach a larger range of different temperature and humidity rates. If everything plans out, it’s potential temperature range will be between -5 to 50 Celsius, with the according possible relative-humidity rates.

To do this the design will be built out of 4 units, these will later be combined into one design. The units that are going to be built are;

Cooling unit:
For this cooling unit two Peltier elements of 12V, 15A (217W) will be used.
On the hot sides (outside) of each Peltier element, there will be a CPU heat-sink with 4 heat pipes and one 120mm fan. On the cold side (inside) there will be a heat-sink of 170mm x 70mm x 40mm with 35 fins. This setup will be able to hit temperatures of up to -50 Celsius on the cold side of the Peltier. Air passing the inner heat-sinks will then be cooled and moisture from the air will be removed. To get rid of all condensed or melted ice water, a “water collector” with a drainage hole is placed on the bottom.

* By reversing the polarity on the Peltier elements, they can also be used to support the heater when needed. Since changing the Peltiers polarity will result in reversing the hot and cold side.

* When we use the heating unit we can also turn on the cooling unit to faster dehumidify the air.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*XSUfRR6oTpad6JaeL1V9Iw.png
“Cross section” of the cooling unit; showing all the parts, eventually all transparant parts will be made of aluminum.

In the future a extra unit will be built to “locally” boost the process of lowering temperatures. This will be done by adding a 20x20mm Peltier to the microscopic slide holder. The cold side of the Peltier element will cool the aluminum microscope slide holder. Cooling the microscopic slide in time.

To dissipate the heat from the hot side of the Peltier a water cooling block will be used. The heated water will then be cooled between in the cooling unit of the climate control unit. This will take some adjustments on the unit, and a water pump to move the heat.

A NTC probe will be used to measure the temperature directly on the microscopic slide, by doing this we can control the temperature of the extra cooling unit.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*nOIEtS2Xbud5WDYVwxZhZw.png
Future update to boost the cooling process, a Peltier of 20x20mm with a water cooling block on a microscopic slide holder.

Dehumidify unit:
For the dehumidify unit the same setup is used as the cooling unit, the only difference will be the addition of a few small 40x40mm fans to increase the warm air flow around the freezing heat-sinks on the inside. This hopefully will prevent that the condensed water will freeze on the-heat sinks, besides that it should help to speed up the dehumidification of the air.

* This unit can also be used as a secondary cooling unit, to speed up the process of lowering temperatures. If this is the case, the 40x40mm fans will be turned off.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*pwkzyZu3NDFfCAdSWlnrdg.png
“Cross section” of the Dehumidify unit; showing all the parts, eventually all transparent parts will be made of aluminum.

Heating unit:
If you are familiar with a Peltier element you would say why create a separate heating unit… Well for this design separated, modular and multi purpose units where important to me. This would give me more flexibility, in this case I can run the heater and use the cooling and dehumidifying unit to both lower the humidity when needed.

For the heating of air 2 PTC units of 150W, 12V are going to be used, which hopefully are enough to heat up the chamber to 50 Celsius. If not, and humidity is at the right temperature, one or more Peltiers can be turned into heating units and support the heating of the PTC units.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*KD9E4O1lCY2G-DwxDtD-kQ.png
“Cross section” of the heating unit; showing all the parts, eventually all transparent parts will be made of aluminum.

But we don’t want heat the air to high, this since the equipment is not made to handle high environmental temperatures. Next to that it would be very inefficient to heat the whole chamber to 100 Celsius. To be able to reach high temperatures in our sample a local heating solution will be used.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*HIAg6apkEh_avqI1ZMiD3Q.png
Above you can see the microscope cover slip holder that is made out of aluminum, attached to it are two Aluminum Housed Resistors + NTC probe.

By using this setup with two Aluminum Housed Resistors of 10 to 25W we can influence the temperature directly of the microscopic slide holder. By heating up this microscope slide holder we also heat up the slide itself. By using a NTC probe we can measure its temperature directly and influence the Wattage needed to reach our temperature goals.

Humidify unit:
By using a ultrasonic water atomizer, we are able to create small water vapor. This vapor will be introduced into the airflow with a small 40x40mm fan. By doing this the humidity in the Climate chamber can be increased with a maximum of 400ml an hour.

The Water basin will be filled with demineralised water to prevent any impurities in the water to “clog up” the unit. To get to the basin, we have to take of the hood and the “air”cone and we can fill it up when needed.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*eac2-ioAJf46F4QJrXtxoQ.png
“Cross section” of the humidify unit; showing all the parts, eventually all transparent parts will be made of aluminum.

If we only combine the units together without all other needed parts we would get something like this.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*4tUe0Jut4jP999CL3jW-ig.png
All 4 units placed together, without in-take hood, out- take unit and control box.

But the “Climate Control Unit” also needs to have proper intake and out take of air from the Climate Chamber to be able to change the temperature and humidity.

Airflow:
The air will taken from the Climate Chamber trough a ⌀82mm air hose. Once it reaches the Climate Control unit, the air flow will be guided over a “cone” and send to the correct unit. Creating the correct airflow will be done by using 4 air dampers that are controlled by small servo’s. Depending on the temperature and humidity that needs to be achieved the corresponding air dampers will be opened to engage the airflow to that unit.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*f0yvHmPEU9yd-_5dEvjXEw.png
This image shows the top hood of the Climate Control Unit, above you can see the ⌀82mm air intake, together with 4 servo’s to control the air dampers. In this case the top hood will be made out of Plexiglas in stead of aluminium.

To create airflow an 12V, 4A, 120mm fan will be used in the bottom of the climate control unit, this will generate suction and start the airflow.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*4mbzlVXSBcZ4iSzxdfEDpw.png
This image shows the bottom exhaust part together with the 120mm power fan and the outtake connector.

As you can maybe tell, most of the units are modular and multi purpose except for the humidify unit. This hopefully enables me to create a wide spectrum of available temperatures and humidity combinations.

Electronics compartment:
Power supply: To power this Climate Control Unit, a Server grade HP power supply will be used that will supply the unit with 12V (1200W and 100A). Since most of the used equipment is 12V we can directly use the 12 different outputs, (100W, 8.3A) and when needed we can combine different rails to achieve higher wattage and Amperage.

Buck Boost Converters: To generate 5V and 24V buck boost converters are used. 24V, 1A for the ultrasone water atomizer, and 5V, 2A for some other small components.

Solid State Relais: To switch on or off different components in our units we will use relais.

Brushed ESC: Since we want to regulate the Peltier element pairs per unit, a brushed Electronic Speed Controller will be used to limit the amount of electric draw.

PWM Servo Motor Driver I2C Module: To control the 4 servo’s that are connected to the air dampers we will use a PWM server motor driver controller.

Micro Controller: To be able to control everything a Arduino ATMega2560 is going to be used, this will become the brain which everything will be connected to.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*mhh_JjWIIRU0vHxcFLa7Tw.png
The electronic compartment box made out of aluminium, with a 9mm plywood board that can be taken out to inspect / change the electronics.

The USB port can later be used to control the unit over the serial bus by using processing to communicate and read out all values. Everything will be controlled and logged by software so no external buttons or displays are needed.

The banana plugs will be used to attach the different sensors and external modules. “Two channels” might be a bit scarce so probably there will be more in the final build.

Channel 1, 4 connections:
Adafruit AM2315 — Encased I2C Temperature/Humidity. This will be used to measure and control the temperature and humidity inside of the climate chamber.

Channel 2, 2 connections:
External NTC temperature probe on the microscope cover slip holder. This will control ether the external aluminium housed resistors, or the external Peltier element.

Channel 3, 2 connections:
External heating unit on the microscope cover slip holder, that powers the Aluminum Housed Resistors

Channel 4 , 2 connections
External cooling unit on the microscope cover slip holder, that powers the 20x20mm, 12V — 5A Peltier.

Chanel 5, 2 connections
Power cables to the external power pump.

Depending on the heat generated in the Electronics compartment small 40x40mm fans will be added to generate a proper air flow. (not yet included into the design)

To give you an idea on how this would look when all is put together another image can be found below.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*cDgESnUbkYetCQhbLamZ-A.png
Latest design of the Climate Control Unit that will be controlling the temperature and humidity within the Climate Chamber. Rendered transparent to show the inner workings.

In the coming weeks I will be waiting for all parts to get in, hopefully I can start building soon.

Original story on Medium:
https://medium.com/micrograph-stories/creating-an-optimal-tear-crystallisation-environment-a36797cd6b8e

“World’s most addictive and widely used drug”

By Macsylver on Monday 13 February 2017 08:36 - Comments (17)
Category: Microscope, Views: 5.957

Caffeine

Almost everyone is familiar with caffeine, and most of us have taken it with or without knowing it. Foods containing caffeine often go unrecognised, making the task of limiting intake of the stimulant challenging. But have you ever wondered about how caffeine would look underneath a microscope? Of course your question at the time taking for example your cup of coffee would have been “will it help me through the day?”

Generally, most people assume that hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, nicotine are the most addictive of their kind when in fact, they aren’t. While the addictive properties in these drugs are intense, potency isn’t the only factor that plays into addiction; availability and frequency of use are important too.

When caffeine enters the brain, Dopamanergic signaling from midbrain regions like the ventral tegmentum area are responsible for this “do it again” signal. Caffeine indirectly causes the release of dopamine, but the pleasure effect comes from the indirect release of opioids caused by neurons with dopamine receptors.

So why take micrographic pictures of caffeine? The idea of these micrographs came from the same idea as described this early publication you can read here: “Crystals that will ease your pain”. While elaborating further on this idea I created several more micrographs of medicine, drugs, food adjectives and even tears. And since caffeine is a widely used (natural) substance that is also used as a food Adjective, it came natural too also add its results to the project.

The First results
This image is the result of the first try of crystallising 100% caffeine powder. The Caffeine powder was added to demineralised water and heated in a water bath to 100C. After this first step large drops of the sample where placed on a slide, within 45minutes the drops where fully crystallised and ready be imaged.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*Aiz2cW_1zbEGV2_4c6-Qtw.jpeg
Caffeine crystals; formed out of 100% caffeine powder dissolved in demineralised water, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope with an Berek filter.

The large image above is a shot made out of 25+ images, these images where shot in a comprehensive grid covering only a part of the sample. The images where later stitched together in digital post production. The total resolution of the image above is about 100+ mega pixels. Below a cropped (100%) part of the image showing you the beautiful details, structures & colours of the crystals that where formed by the caffeine.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*gPt8_dqt1sKnNB6TT8POUA.jpeg
Caffeine crystals; formed out of 100% caffeine powder dissolved in demineralised water, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope with an Berek filter. (100% zoom of above image)

So next time you take one of the world’s most addictive drug, envision this microscopic molecule working its magic in your body.

“Crystals that will ease your pain!”

By Macsylver on Wednesday 8 February 2017 19:02 - Comments (16)
Category: Microscope, Views: 3.041

Almost everyone is familiar with painkillers, and most of us have taken them. But have you ever wondered about how they would look underneath a microscope? Of course your question at the time taking that painkiller would have been “will it ease my pain?”

There are a large number of painkillers available from the weakest aspirin to the strongest oxymorphone. Each works in a different way. Most people only need to take painkillers for a few days or weeks at most, but some people need to take them for a long time.

Painkillers can be taken by: mouth as liquids, tablets, or capsules, by injection, or via the rectum for example, suppositories. And some are even available as a creams or an ointment.

So why take micrographic pictures of pain medication?
Behind every used painkiller there is a story. Stories of the people taking their pain medication, but most of these stories are of course no happy stories. One day a few years back, I did not have a happy story, and I was bound for a long time taking strong pain medication.

During this period I was not really able to do my normal photography work. So I found back some old moleskins, and went trough all my notes. One think popped-up several times “Micrographs”. Combining my “two” passions; science and photography.

As an licensed medical laboratory analyst, I saw lots of beautiful things underneath the microscope when I was working at the RIVM. Capturing these moments in a form of art was always a wish.

So I started to build a setup that would enable me to go back to this “happy place”. Getting to know the world in a different way, by using things we “consume” in our “daily” life, but putting them underneath a microscope. Creating images “from another world” with a different perspective. Where structures, shapes, patterns, details, colours an many other things will (hopefully) make you look astonished.

After a lot of research about possibilities (within the available budget), I found my starting setup. A Novex B microscope that was able to show me some of the worlds within microscopy.

By “modding” this microscope I could use the techniques like; bright-field, cross polarised, dark-field, phase contrast and oblique illumination.

A few weeks later the setup arrived, and the first thing that popped-up in my mind, was to try and see if I can make the medicine I was taking visible. But unfortunately that first step of making the particular medication visible by trying to crystallise it failed.

So where to start?
Like the introduction almost everyone has taken some painkillers in there life, so we can all relate to these medicine. The most common OTC (over the counter) pain medications are aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, diclofenac & naproxen. So starting with these 5 painkillers would be a good start.

The First results
In the last months I have been experimenting allot to get the best results in therms of how to crystallise and capture these 5 OTC pain medications. I can happily report that I have managed to get beautiful micrographs of aspirin, acetaminophen & diclofenac.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*IOenoPp01_tkgjnqQeQISA.jpeg
Diclofenac crystals after waiting for 72 hours, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*9wmEYWfVqf_fAVNkIktYBg.jpeg
Diclofenac crystals after waiting for 72 hours, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope. (100% zoom of above image)

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*rw3bb5o0nHnxwD0YVrUocA.jpeg
Acetaminophen crystals after waiting for 3 hours, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*zcnZMKPscsZRvwFPi9ivYQ.jpeg
Acetaminophen crystals after waiting for 3 hours, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope. (100% zoom of above image)

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*ESAIEjXHCfExYNvIIxJ0wg.jpeg
Aspirin crystals after waiting for 1 hour, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*TA1hiAtixBmcsqC7Dn0Fww.jpeg
Aspirin crystals after waiting for 1 hour, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope. (100% zoom of above image)

Work in progress:
Hopefully in the future I will be able to make ibuprofen & naproxen visual. This so my goal of having an exposition with these OTC pain medications can be realised, among the other legal and non-legal medication I would love to categorise and make visual.

So next time you take one of the world’s most popular painkillers aspirin, diclofenac or acetaminophen, envision this microscopic molecule working its magic in your body.

How do tears turn into art?

By Macsylver on Friday 3 February 2017 19:41 - Comments are closed
Category: Microscope, Views: 1.923

In the previous two blogs I gave a glimpse of what Micrograph Stories is partly about. Before I continue writing about previous and upcoming project details, ideas and future plans, I want to share this TEDx talk. A talk about my project Micrograph Stories & Imaginarium of Tears.


A TED talk at TEDxAmsterdam about Imaginarium of Tears. "How do tears turn in to art?"

With this blogpost, I hope to give you a bit more basic insights on who I'm and how Micrograph Stories and Imaginarium of Tears evolved to what it's today.

Micrography and the online drug trade.

By Macsylver on Tuesday 24 January 2017 12:30 - Comments (17)
Category: Microscope, Views: 3.632


Introduction visuals and story on The Dutch TV NPO; De kennis van nu - De harddrugs van Dr. Mikkers

How Micrography sparked my interest in the evolving online drug trade.

While working on the project Micrographic Stories new ideas swiftly surfaced after starting the initial project of visualising (OTC) painkillers. The project quickly expanded toward a wider spectrum of “daily” consumed (prescription) medicine and foods additives. Because some (hard) drugs are closely related to prescription medicine, the topic of visualising hard drugs was quickly raised. To elaborate on this idea and concept of visualising drugs underneath the microscope, I needed to get my hands on different kinds of drugs.

After some research, one of my acquaintances told me that getting drugs from the street was “old fashioned” these days. He said:
“Most (young) people these days get their Ecstasy, MDMA or other hard drugs by going online. Just google how to get on Agora by using TorBrowser. The quality, price, service and ‘entry level’ made it better, easier and most important ‘safer’ than getting your drugs on the corner of the street from some random guy.”
Bitcoin and the deep web were not subjects new to me when starting this project. During my first year of study (2007) at the Royal Art Academy (I/M/D department) in The Hague, a lecture was given about the deep web (invisible web). Part of this lecture was to explore, discuss, gain knowledge and understand the basics and possibilities of the deep web. At that time it was not as advanced, easy, safe and fast as today’s deep web, but it was still fascinating. A few years later Bitcoin was upcoming, and lectures were spent on crypto currency, getting me to mine my own Bitcoins. But at that time I did not see the direct (security) potential of Bitcoin, or of using it to buy things in the Deep Web.

Five minutes after using Google Search, I was browsing Agora on The Deep Web with my TorBrowser. Surprisingly things had changed a lot in the past years, websites were faster, easier to find and the user experience was better compared to the “invisible web” experience from 2007.

After looking around on Agora, I decided to make my first purchase to see if it would actually work as advertised. By transferring a small amount of my Bitcoin from my local wallet to my Agora wallet, I was ready to buy the lowest amount of MDMA possible, since I needed less than 0.1 gram to make my dilutions.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*PDUfqnWNoqew1-RAoK7ooA.png
Agora displayed search results on MDMA, rendered by the TorBrowser.

I started searching on Agora for MDMA. Within seconds it gave me a list of items and its vendors. The vendor from The Netherlands who was advertising with the smallest amount of 0.3 grams and 84% purity was the one I decided to go with, costing me 0.06198347 BTC.
1BTC equals 213,56 Euro, so this purchase would cost me 13,24 Euro.
https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*aNmcrUM48bNpnnPMeDsHdA.png
Vendor / product page on Agora. Selling 0.3gram of 84% pure MDMA

I gathered up the confidence to purchase the MDMA based on good reviews and ratings that were given by others, such as:
“Fast delivery and great stealth, good communication with vendor and products look really good !!!! Will order again !!!! Truste”
https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*T0Q-cA92d57m38ZEalKCaA.jpeg
The envelope that was received after 2 days.

Two days later an envelope of “the Rotterdam School of Management” came through the mail (a fake, home printed envelope). At first I thought it had been a wrong delivery, but it had the exact information and alias on it as provided through Agora using PGP encryption. Surprised and confused at the same time, I opened the envelope.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*gAhVhyi8Z0sNol3nZuT-7A.jpeg
Behind the letter a thick stack of empty graphical paper was included. The cut out was to hold the pony pack with the ordered 0.3grams of MDMA crystals in place.

It was now time to take the next step in this project.
By using a few g of MDAM I started creating the slides, by dissolving the crystals in demineralised water. The solution was later used to create several drops of 1 to 5 l on a slide, hoping these drops would crystallise in time. When fully dried and crystallised the slide was ready to be imaged underneath the cross polarisation microscope. Lucky as I was, one of the drops crystallised perfectly and generated an amazing result!

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*lTc-yTI131ZiQ8mnuljAXQ.jpeg
MDMA Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 200x enlargement. ⿻ overview

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*SIsWQY62ecD64VdHjX5jjg.jpeg
∢ MDMA Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 200x enlargement. ⿻ 100 % crop

Happy with the result, it was time to properly dispose of the MDMA.
Together with some old expired medicine, I handed in a small plastic bag at the local pharmacy. Wanting to make sure the MDMA would be properly discarded, because flushing, selling or providing to others was not a legit option to me.

Walking out of the pharmacy my brain was in a twist. “I broke the law by buying and being in possession of a hard drug.” Struggling with this fact I asked myself if I should continue this project, and accept any possible risks involved; knowing that there is a tolerance policy in The Netherlands on possession of hard drugs in small quantities. For example:
“One globule, one ampoule, a wrapper, a pill / tablet (in each case, a detected amount of up to 0.5 grams); a consumption unit of 5 ml GHB is quantified as personal use”
So in this case I would not be likely to be persecuted or arrested. But what would happen if I made a habit out of using The Deep Web and Bitcoin, purchasing hard drugs to support my project? On the way home the question that kept repeating in my mind was:
Should I order another drug, and continue this project??
https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*WBl8vnUFuuSfPl26tfHrJQ.jpeg
∢ LSD Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 40X enlargement. ⿻ overview

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*n68VkCyXy1xQaxkbBBZRrQ.jpeg
∢ LSD Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 200x enlargement. ⿻ 100 % crop

Scrolling down and seeing another micrograph of drugs gave away the answer to the question if I should order another drug.
Yes, my curiosity and vision behind this project was bigger. Bigger than my initial concerns about purchasing and possessing very small amounts of hard drugs. Next to that, the result of the first drug visualisation of MDMA got me “hooked” on the beauty of its microscopic; crystals, structures and colours.

I had seen a lot of crystallisation processes happening under the microscope in the last year and this was with no doubt one of the most vivid, intense and mind blowing results I had encountered. Stopping was not an option anymore; I got “addicted” and obsessed with documenting crystalline formations of drugs. So to expand the series I started to use the same method and process as I used for MDMA.

Luck was on my side for a long time; by making small adjustments to my experiments crystallising new drugs was never far away from giving me new and beautiful results. LSD, GHB, DMT, Amphetamine and 2CB they all gave results I had thought were never possible in the first place. They kept me wondering about how it’s possible that these microscopic structures can look this beautiful and diverse underneath a microscope. Giving me even more drive to share its beauty with the world.

Not only good and useful results where achieved. From all the things that where purchased along the way I could not create crystalline formations of Cocaine, Ketamine and Oxycodone. As frustrating as it got I decided not to actively continue the exploration and visualisations of these and other new drugs. So for the moment I’m only able to present you these micrographs, maybe in the future I’m able to restart this part of the project with the help of others.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*w8g2wNwkYKwOXKAOZCko8Q.jpeg
∢ GHB Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 100X enlargement. ⿻ overview

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*HlUYCNyu1D0OR8PF_ZZS2Q.jpeg
∢ GHB Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 100x enlargement. ⿻ 100 % crop


So why am I making these micrographs (of hard drugs)?
By creating this micrographic art, I want to show the microscopic structures and create more awareness about daily consumed products. Most of us tend not to consume (hard) drugs, but other products, as in: painkillers or (prescription) medication or even food additives are more commonly consumed, and more familiar. For example:
At the first sign of a headache, most of us pop pills without hesitation. We get on with it, satisfied that medicine will see us through.
We often use products without hesitation. Who these days is actually reading every medication leaflet or product label? Some of us are very involved and aware about there product use, others “don’t care about what’s actually inside” until things may go wrong. Involved or not the things inside are often abracadabra to us.

By giving you a different angle (in this case a microscopic image) you might become more interested about the workings of these products and their “active ingredients” that may be in there for the better or for the worse.

To give an example about how I think this might work: Everyone is familiar with soda drinks. Many of these drinks nowadays have a light version that tends to be “healthier” than the regular one. Containing not sugar but aspartame. The aspartame is used as a substitute for sugar, and can actually be more harmful. It has been linked to almost a hundred different health problems. To raise awareness about aspartame I would try to visualise aspartame as the food additive itself. By doing this in a vivid and impressive way I’m hoping to gain your attention and along the way I might be able to teach you a bit more about aspartame, its use and therefore maybe its dangers.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*lgNnFZYiIt-0VrukcJN2Gg.jpeg
∢ DMT Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 400x enlargement. ⿻ overview

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*ri4m_pbf04hGLRxu3DdKbQ.jpeg
∢ DMT Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 400x enlargement. ⿻ 100 % crop


But If your goal is to create awareness and involvement with the products we consume, then why are you sharing information about purchasing drugs on the deep web?
While working on this project I kept sharing my results, to the point of creating a “work in progress page”. By doing this I was able to gain feedback, interact and gain more information about how my Micrographs and Micrographic stories where received.

By sharing information about the project, people became interested about also my personal involvement with drugs and how I got my samples. Quite often questions like: Are you using yourself? or How do you get your samples? where asked.
“No, I have never experimented with hard drugs myself and the Micrographs of drugs that are displayed here are bought by using The Deep Web.”
The first part of the answer always let to the explanation of my concept and vision as explained above. Most of the time this explanation gave them a clear understanding and a deeper bond with my work.

As for the second part of my answer things where not so clear. In general most people did not know that it was even possible to order drugs “online” and getting them delivered at home. They where very surprised, and sometimes even shocked about the possibilities and not knowing that there is a “market space like E-bay” on The Deep Web selling drugs a.o. legal and illegal things.

By sharing my Deep Web experience I hope create awareness towards The Deep Web. Of course The Deep Web is more then only an illegal online place where you can order dugs with full anonymity and pay with Bitcoin. If this Dark Web is new to you?! I hope by sharing this information it will trigger you to do some more research. Once you do understand the pro’s and cons of this fascinating evolving online service, we can then identify problems together. Starting a discussion about how to handle these situations accordingly.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*FYSccHqhi0y_-9XWL6G_BA.jpeg
∢ Amphetamine Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 40X enlargement. ⿻ overview

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*J7gotetLa83Ra_krEzHTkw.jpeg
∢ Amphetamine Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 40X enlargement. ⿻ 100 % crop

Future progress:
The next step in this project would be to continue the exploration of different not yet imaged types of “daily” consumed (prescription) medicine, foods additives and (hard) drugs, extending the series of micrographs that are already made. Ideal it would be to collaborate with institutes, companies organisations or schools hat support these Visualisations. By combining Art & Science we are hopefully able to generate more awareness and start an more open conversation about these subjects by using micrographs.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions, questions, comments, feedback or are willing to support or collaborate on this project.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*PA0npy9lQ143e-jPpARDGg.jpeg
∢ 2C-B Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation microscope with 200x enlargement. ⿻ overview

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/2000/1*HSCTAc0jB8Dp8wKiZAdmow.jpeg
∢ 2C-B Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation polarisation microscope with 200x enlargement. ⿻ 100 % crop