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Chemistry, microchemistry, microscopy, mineralogy, method, definition


Chemistry | Earth Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


The terms microchemistry and chemical microscopy have, in the last hundred years, evaded their original definition. Wormley stated in 1867 in his "Microchemistry of Poisons": "By the term micro-chemistry of poisons, we understand the study of chemical properties of poisons as revealed by the aid of the microscope...". Since then, because of many techniques developed using small amounts of material, but without the aid of the microscope, the term has lost its original meaning. The term "microchemistry" is now applied even to absorption spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence and gas chromatography methods. Early in this century, Chamot and Mason realized this drift and coined the term "Chemical Microscopy" giving it almost the same meaning as originally held by microchemistry. Although the main emphasis of chemical microscopy was the chemical methods of analysis using the microscope, the term has been applied to optical microscopy, microspectrophotometry.

The author uses both terms implying the originally held meanings. Basically, this is, "qualitative analytical reactions as observed under the microscope," but the results are far more vivid and direct than classic qualitative analysis, and much less material is needed.