This episode of “Cool Stuff Under the Microscope” focusses on a common kitchen ingredient; the (whole) peppercorn. The peppercorn comes from the Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) which is a flowering vine from the family Piperaceae where the fruit is cultivated, dried and used for seasoning or a spice.

I had always wondered what the peppercorn looked like at higher magnification, as when you look at the item by eye, you can see it is not smooth and spherical, rather contains ridges and crevices.

The following image was captured by imaging a whole peppercorn at low magnification on the Radical Microscope, with the images being focus stacked into one image (below). Images were captured with a Nikon D5300 Digital camera, with the focus stacking being carried out in Helicon Focus PRO, and final editing being carried out in Lightroom. This is one of my earlier attempts at using Helicon software and I have been fairly happy with it, any issues have been because of how I captured the images (there are about 8 images in this stack).


Under the Microscope: Peppercorn
Under the Microscope: Peppercorn


The focus was slightly off at the bottom ridge, and top crevices, but the structure is nonetheless fascinating. One really cool feature of the Helicon Focus software is the ability to generate a 3D animation from the images you captured. You can see my 3D model at the following link (opens in a new window).

As always, if you have any idea's on things to image under the microscope don't hesitate to let me know either through this site or on social media.

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