Lichen Labs has both light and electron microscopes to magnify a sample through a high range of magnifications from 7X to over 100,000X and enable identification of the chemical elements present.
Higher resolution on non-conductive samples can be obtained with ultra thin metallic sputter coating as was done with this tiny mite eating the wing of a dead fly in a secondary electron image (SEI).
Orange lichen imaged uncoated in the SEM in the adjacent backscattered compositional image.
This backscattered image is a metallic sample grit blasted with aluminum oxide, a lower atomic number material, which appears black compared to higher atomic number metal.
EDS analysis examples are shown of spectra (above) and elemental mapping (below).
Backscattered images show differences in elemental composition by shades of gray. The bright area contains tin which is higher in atomic number composition than the rest of the lichen composed of carbon and oxygen.