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Advanced Condenser Systems: Abbe Condensers

Sawdust Whole Mount

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 unstained sawdust, which are unretouched and were captured with the QX3 interactive software.

Wood is one of the most important natural resources in the United States. Until recent years, however, more than half of every tree cut for lumber ended up in waste, wood scraps, chips, shavings, and sawdust. 15 percent of every tree cut into lumber ends up as sawdust. The invention of plywood, a composite of layers of wood, has reduced some of this waste because the wood is stripped off the log in layers instead of being sawed. Sawdust is finding new uses as a potential resource; as mulch for gardens and farms, bedding for animals, and an additional ingredient for concrete, fuel for heating plants, and for the manufacture of plastics, masonite, and linoleum. It is also finding uses when molded under high pressure to make fireplace "logs" and particleboard.

Sawdust Whole Mount
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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