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Advanced Condenser Systems: Achromatic Condensers

Menthol Crystallites

The images below compare performance of the Intel Play QX3 Computer Microscope with and without the aid of an organized cone of illumination from an achromatic substage condenser containing an aperture diaphragm. These photomicrographs are unretouched and were captured with the QX3 interactive software.

Birefringent Menthol Crystallites
QX3 with Mixing Chamber (Stock - 200x)

QX3 with Achromatic Condenser (200x)

Menthol is the principal constituent of peppermint oil, and can be isolated as a pure white crystalline substance. The fragrance and flavor qualities of this organic chemical have been exploited for many years. Menthol has a peppermint odor and produces a cold sensation when tasted and smelled. Commercially, menthol is used in cigarettes, shaving cream, lotions, cough drops, pharmaceuticals and other products. The digital images below were recorded using crossed polarized illumination with a full-wave (first order) retardation plate inserted between the sample and the analyzer.

The images above were recorded using the Intel Play QX3 microscope in transmitted brightfield mode equipped with crossed polarizers and a full-wave retardation plate. On the top 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 of low numerical aperture.

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