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Advanced Condenser Systems: Achromatic Condensers

Transmitted Brightfield Illumination
Digital Image Gallery

In brightfield microscopy, a transparent or translucent specimen, which is either naturally colored or artificially stained, is illuminated with unfiltered white light to produce an image that appears dark against a bright (or white) background.

Although one of the most widely used techniques in optical microscopy, brightfield illumination contains a number of pitfalls and can be one of the most difficult illumination schemes to master. The digital images in this gallery were recorded with a QX3 microscope body coupled to an achromatic substage condenser. This condenser system is corrected for chromatic aberrations. Figure 1 illustrates the configuration used to capture the digital images featured in the links below.

Elodea Leaf - Elodea, the once innocent aquarium plant, has become infamous as an invasive species in many parts of the world. Unwanted plants have been dumped into lakes and ponds where they form dense mats that choke out native plants, provide poor habitat for fish, and interfere with aquatic sports.

Green Algae - One of the most diverse and widespread group of algae, these aquatic plants are found all over the world where they produce an estimated 30 to 50 percent of the total global oxygen.

Insect Wing - Notoriously difficult to image in transmitted brightfield illumination, even with a research-grade microscope, insect wings show reasonable contrast and image sharpness with the QX3 microscope when assisted with a substage condenser. Insect wing structures develop as paired outgrowths from the thorax, stiffened by ribs, or veins, which are innervated by tracheae.

Mosquito Whole Mount - The Culex genus of mosquitoes has a worldwide distribution and is found on every continent except Antarctica. Fourteen species occur throughout the United States and Canada.

Palatine Tonsil Stained Thin Section - Tonsils are small reddish, oval-shaped lumps of tissue, part of the lymphatic system, found in the back of the throat and located on both sides of the uvula.

Tilia (Basswood) Stained Thin Section - The American Basswood is one of the most treasured ornamental trees, having a tall, straight trunk and rounded crown. In the summer, basswood flowers bloom and fill the air with their fragrance as they attract bees to aid in pollination.

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