Basic Concepts in Optical Microscopy

Section Overview:

Microscopes are instruments designed to produce magnified visual or photographic images of small objects. The microscope must accomplish three tasks: produce a magnified image of the specimen, separate the details in the image, and render the details visible to the human eye or camera. This group of instruments includes not only multiple-lens designs with objectives and condensers, but also very simple single lens devices that are often hand-held, such as a magnifying glass.

Review Articles

Digital Image Galleries

Brightfield Microscopy Digital Image Gallery

Brightfield illumination has been one of the most widely used observation modes in optical microscopy for the past 300 years. The technique is best suited for utilization with fixed, stained specimens or other kinds of samples that naturally absorb significant amounts of visible light. Images produced with brightfield illumination appear dark and/or highly colored against a bright, often light gray or white, background. This digital image gallery explores a variety of stained specimens captured with an Olympus BX51 microscope coupled to a 12-bit QImaging Retiga camera system and a three-color liquid crystal tunable filter.

Contributing Authors

Mortimer Abramowitz - Olympus America, Inc., Two Corporate Center Drive., Melville, New York, 11747.

Kenneth R. Spring - Scientific Consultant, Lusby, Maryland, 20657.

Brian O. Flynn, John C. Long, Matthew Parry-Hill, Kirill I. Tchourioukanov, and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.