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Panoramic Stitching in Photomicrography

                                         Michael Reese Much FRMS EMS
                                         Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
Panoramic stitching can be a useful technique in photomicrography. It enables
capturing a larger area of a subject not covered by a single photograph, yielding
more information and more detail. It allows use of higher power objectives to
provide more detail than could be produced using a lower power objective.
There are a number of applications that can be used for stitching, the most common
being the Photomerge function in Adobe Photoshop programs. I have found that the
most effective (and powerful) application to be Microsoft Image Composite Editor,
hereafter referred to as ICE. It is a free software which can be downloaded at
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/ice/
Using ICE, stitching can be performed with series of images captured on the X, Y and
X-Y axes. It is vital to use a mechanical stage to position the overlapping captured
images. I also focus stack the majority of my captured subjects using Zerene
Stacker.
My first example of panoramic stitching is a very simple two-shot X-axis stitch of
cross-polarized Metformin crystals. As you can see, while the two distinct images are
interesting, stitching them together produces a more dynamic final image. Here are
the two source images:

You can see that at capture, a generous amount of overlap was created to enable the
stitch. When the stitch was completed this is how it appeared in ICE:
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