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Advanced Condenser Systems: Abbe Condensers

Elodea Leaf

The images below compare performance of the Intel Play QX3 Computer Microscope with and without the aid of an organized cone of illumination from a substage condenser containing an aperture diaphragm. These photomicrographs are high magnifications of a thin section of a hydrophytic Elodea leaf stained with a quadruple stain consisting of safranin O (nuclei and chromosomes and cell walls), fast green (cytoplasm and cellulose cell walls), crystal violet (starch), and orange G (acidophilic cytoplasm). The digital images are unretouched and were captured with the QX3 interactive software.

Elodea is an underwater plant, with species native to North and South America, and was once commonly used in aquariums. Unfortunately, some of these plants have been dumped into lakes and ponds in non-native regions around the world and have become nuisance species because their growth is virtually uncontrollable. The plants form dense mats that choke out native aquatic plants, provide poor habitat for fish, and interfere with aquatic sports.

Elodea Leaf Stained Thin Section
QX3 with mixing chamber (stock - 200x magnification)

QX3 with simple two-lens Abbe condenser
(200x magnification)

Semi-transparent and lightly stained specimens are often very difficult to image using unaided brightfield optical microscopy. The images presented here were recorded using the Intel Play QX3 microscope in transmitted brightfield mode. On the top is a digital image from a stock QX3 microscope using either auxiliary illumination provided by a fiber optic light pipe through a hole drilled into the mixing chamber, or standard illumination from the microscope's tungsten lamp and mixing chamber. The image on the bottom was recorded using the QX3 microscope body coupled to a simple two-lens Abbe low numerical aperture substage condenser. Illumination was provided by a 30 watt tungsten bulb housed in an illuminator with a heat sink, a frosted diffusion screen, and a daylight color-compensating filter.

BACK TO ABBE CONDENSER BRIGHTFIELD GALLERY

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