Music under an Electron Microscope

The following fascinating images show vinyl records and electronic compact discs under a microscope. The average LP has about 1,500 feet (460 m or about a third of a mile) of groove on each side. The average tangential needle speed relative to the disc surface is approximately 1 mph, 1.4 km/h or 0.4 m/s. It travels fastest on the outside edge, unlike audio CDs, which change their speed of rotation to provide constant linear velocity (CLV) – by contrast, CDs play from the inner radius outward, the reverse of phonograph records. Even by today’s standards, music production on any disc – digital or otherwise – is mind-boggling. These images look at various disk formats under a microscope.

Magnified 500x

Magnified 500x

The little bumps are dust on the record. This photo shows the microscope looking down the grooves.

 

Magnified 200x

Magnified 200x

This photo shows a number of grooves horizontally. The darker areas are the top of the grooves (or Crests).

 

Magnified 1000x

Magnified 1000x

This is a single groove, showing the wave path the needle will take when travelling down it; subsequently producing sound waves.

 

A Compact Disk at 20000x

A Compact Disk at 20000x

This is a compact disk to show the contrast.

 

A Blue/Red 3D image

A Blue/Red 3D image

If you have a pair of Blue/Red 3D glasses handy, check this one out!

 

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