Vinyl record grooves under electron microscope

Chris Supranowitz is a researcher at The Insitute of Optics at the University of Rochester. Along with a number of other spectacular studies (such as quantum optics, trapping of atoms, dark states and entanglement), Chris has decided to look at the grooves of a vinyl record using the institute’s electron microscope


Here is a shot of a number of record grooves (the dark bits are the top of the grooves, i.e. the uncut vinyl):



The grooves magnified 500x – the little bumps are dust on the record:


And here’s a single groove even closer still, magnified 1000 times:


Chris also did the pits in a CD – here’s what they look like, just for contrast:


Chris decided to take the whole electron microscope image one step further, and created a blue/red 3-dimensional image of the record groove! So, if you have a pair of 3D glasses (sorry, the ones you got from watching Avatar won’t work – you need red on the left, blue on the right), throw them on and take a look at this amazing picture:



via SynthGear | Chris Supranowitz




How vinyl records are produced (via Discovery):


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14 thoughts on “Vinyl record grooves under electron microscope

  1. Alicia Bernal says:

    amazing how much yet I have to know about the world beyond one’s comfort zone…

  2. volenet says:

    kinda disappointing we don’t know what records they were

  3. Steve Strickland says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    There was man who lived who could sing tell the tune of any record by running his nails along it.

  5. bot says:

    amazing! more close-up vinyl grooves and record production shots,

  6. hblx says:

    Irony is it prolly cost less to film that entire segment that it would to license the music in order to feature it…

  7. Lukas Kvasnak says:
  8. Marjan Zahed-Kindersley says:
  9. John Dyer says:

    Very very awesome. Took me by surprise.

  10. Xea Baudoin says:
  11. Tom Freeze says:
  12. Anonymous says:

    Are the defects in the grooves on high magnification part of the recordings? or from the pressing stages? would they affect the sound? or just too small to matter?

  13. brendotroy says:

    Anyone know why this was posted (how the author came across it)? I’m just curious — the researcher is a friend, and I’d like to tell him that some of his old work is getting attention on the web (and why it is).

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