comparing Nikon immersion oils

August 27, 2014 at 2:53 pm | | everyday science, review

UPDATE: update on Nikon objective immersion oils

I typically use Nikon type NF immersion oil. But I hate the dropper that it comes in, and I’ve recently been having trouble with the oil crystallizing, especially if I aliquot it to smaller dropper vials. So I decided to compare the different oil types available, namely Nikon A (not to be confused with Cargille A), Cargille B, Cargille 37, and Nikon NF. (Type 37 is sometimes called type B 37.) Note that types B and 37 are actually Cargille part numbers 16484 and 16237, respectively.

A B 37 NF montage

See full slide deck here.

My conclusion: Use Nikon A for routine imaging (the dropper is much easier to use and it’s less stinky than NF). For samples at 37 C or single-molecule imaging, use type NF.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Nikon has discontinued their type A and NF oils. Back to the drawing board. I will update with what oil I chose to use in the future


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  1. Hey Sam this is excellent! Thanks for posting it – I’ve linked it :-)

    Comment by austin blanco — February 4, 2015 #

  2. […] Sam Lord at EveryDay Scientist has an excellent review of the available immersion oils for microscopy. Check it out here! […]

    Pingback by Nikon Immersion Oil Comparison | Austin's Imaging Blog — February 4, 2015 #

  3. Hi Sam,
    What solvent do you use to clean the oil off the objective? I found type NF to be super sticky and hard to be completely cleaned off.

    Comment by Yan — March 22, 2015 #

  4. Ultraclarity lens cleaner in a dropper bottle.

    If you really need to get all the oil off (i.e. when someone accidentally uses oil on an air objective) use petroleum ether (AKA benzine). That’s what the Nikon manual recommends.

    Comment by sam — March 23, 2015 #

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