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Advanced Condenser Systems: Achromatic Condensers

Elodea Leaf Tip

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 magnification views of a thin section of Elodea leaf tip stained with a quadruple stain consisting of safranin O (nuclei, chromosomes, and cell walls stain red), fast green (cytoplasm stains green), crystal violet (starch stains blue/purple), and orange G (acidophilic cytoplasm and cell walls stain green). The photomicrographs are intended to illustrate cell and leaf development and were obtained with the 200x objective. Note the detail present in the lower photomicrograph where a substage condenser is used to organize the illuminating light rays. Alternatively, without a condenser (upper image), there is a complete lack of specimen detail.

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

QX3 with achromatic condenser (200x magnification)

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.

The upper photomicrograph is a digital image from a stock QX3 microscope using auxiliary illumination provided by a fiber optic light pipe through a hole drilled into the mixing chamber. The image on the bottom was recorded using the QX3 microscope body and a Nikon achromatic substage condenser with low numerical aperture.

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