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Advanced Condenser Systems: Abbe Condensers

Onion Root

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 onion root tip stained with hematoxylin. The digital images are unretouched and were captured with the QX3 interactive software.

Onions are among the world's oldest cultivated plants, and their pungent bulbs have probably been used in cooking since humans have been using fire. A member of the lily family, the onion is thought to be a native of Southwestern Asia but is now grown throughout the world. The common onion has one or more leafless stalks, terminating in a cluster of small greenish white flowers. The leaf bases of the developing plant swell to form the underground bulb that is the mature, edible onion.

Onion Root 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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