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The substage condenser gathers irradiate from the microscopic lense light source and concentrates it right into a cone that light that illuminates the specimen v uniform intensity over the entire viewfield. That is crucial that the condenser light cone be properly readjusted to optimize the intensity and also angle of light entering the target front lens. Each time an target is changed, a equivalent adjustment should be performed on the substage condenser to provide the proper light cone for the number aperture that the new objective.

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As a an outcome of no optical correction, the Abbe condenser is suited mainly for routine observation with goals of modest numerical aperture and also magnification. The primary advantages of the Abbe condenser space the broad cone of illumination the the condenser is qualified of producing and its capability to occupational with lengthy working street objectives. Most microscopes are offered by the manufacturer v an Abbe condenser as the default and these condensers are real workhorses for routine laboratory use.

The following level that condenser mediate is split in between the aplanatic and also achromatic condensers that room corrected solely for either spherical (aplanatic) or chromatic (achromatic) optical aberrations. Typical examples of these condensers are portrayed in figures 3 (achromatic) and also Figure 4 (aplanatic). Achromatic condensers commonly contain three to four lens elements and are repair in 2 wavelengths (red and also blue) because that chromatic aberration.


The highest level the correction because that optical aberration is integrated in the aplanatic-achromatic condenser. This condenser is fine corrected for both chromatic and also spherical aberrations and also is the condenser of selection for usage in vital color photomicrography through white light. A usual aplanatic-achromatic condenser is illustrated in figure 5 (numerical aperture = 1.35). This condenser features eight interior lens facets cemented into two doublets and also four single lenses.


Engravings uncovered on the condenser housing include its kind (achromatic, aplanatic, etc.), the number aperture, and also a graded range that suggests the almost right adjustment (size) the the aperture diaphragm. Together we discussed above, condensers v numerical apertures over 0.95 perform finest when a autumn of oil is applied to their upper lens in call with the undersurface the the specimen slide. This ensures the oblique irradiate rays emanating from the condenser are not reflect from underneath the slide, however are directed right into the specimen. In practice, this can end up being tedious and is not frequently done in routine microscopy, but is vital when functioning at high resolutions and also for accurate photomicrography making use of high-power (and number aperture) objectives.

Another important factor to consider is the thickness of the microscope slide, which is as an important to the condenser together coverslip thickness is to the objective. Most commercial producers sell slides that range in thickness in between 0.95 and 1.20 mm through the most usual being really close to 1.0 mm. A microscope slide that thickness 1.20 mm is too thick to be offered with most high numerical aperture condensers that tend to have a really short functioning distance. When this walk not considerably matter for routine specimen observation, the results have the right to be destructive with precision photomicrography. Us recommend that microscopic lense slides be preferred that have a thickness of 1.0 ± 0.05 mm, and also that lock be thoroughly cleaned prior to use.

Condenser light Cones

Study exactly how optical correction affect the size and shape that condenser irradiate cones.

When the target is changed, for instance from a 10X come 20X, the aperture diaphragm the the condenser must additionally be changed to provide a brand-new light cone that matches the number aperture that the new objective. This is done by transforming the knurled knob ~ above the condensers illustrated in numbers 2-6. Over there is a little yellow arrow or index mark located on this knob that shows the loved one size of the aperture when compared to the direct gradation on the condenser housing. Numerous manufacturers will synchronize this gradation to exchange mail to the approximate number aperture of the condenser. Because that example, if the microscopist has actually selected a 10X objective of numerical aperture 0.25, then the arrowhead would be put next the worth 0.18-0.20 (about 80 percent of the objective numerical aperture) ~ above the gradation inscribed on the condenser housing.

Often, that is not handy to usage a solitary condenser through an entire range of missions (2X come 100X) due to the broad selection of light cones that need to be created to enhance objective number apertures. With low-power goals in the selection 2X come 5X, the illumination cone will have a diameter in between 6-10 mm, when the high-power objectives (60X to 100X) need a highly concentrated light cone only around 0.2-0.4 mm in diameter. Through a fixed focal length, it is an overwhelming to attain this wide range of illumination cones with a solitary condenser.

In practice, this difficulty can be addressed in numerous ways. For short power objectives (below 10x), it might be crucial to unscrew the height lens of the condenser in order to fill the ar of view through light. Some condensers are created with a flip-top top lens to attain this much more readily, as depicted in figure 6. Many manufacturers now develop a condenser i m sorry flips over completely when supplied with low power objectives. Various other companies may incorporate auxiliary correction lenses in the light course for securing ideal illumination v objectives much less than 10x. When the condenser is offered without its top lens, the aperture iris diaphragm is opened wide and the field diaphragm, currently visible in ~ the earlier of the objective, serves together if it were the aperture diaphragm. Flip-top condensers are produced in a variety of configurations with numerical apertures varying from 0.65 come 1.35. Those condensers that have actually a number aperture value of 0.95 or less are intended because that use v "dry" objectives. However, flip-top condensers that have a number aperture greater than 0.95 space intended for use v oil-immersion objectives and also they must have actually a drop of oil placed between the bottom of the microscopic lense slide and also the condenser peak lens as soon as examining vital samples.

In addition to the common brightfield condensers debated above, there space a wide selection of specialized models suitable to numerous different applications. Table 2 lists a number of different condenser configurations and the intended applications.

Substage Condenser Applications
Achromat/ AplanatN.A. 1.3⋅<10x~100x>
Achromat Swing-outN.A. 0.90⋅<4x~100x>
Low-PowerN.A. 0.20⋅<1x~10x>
Phase contrast AbbeN.A. 1.25⋅<10x~100x>
Phase comparison AchromatN.A. 0.85⋅<4x~100x>
DIC UniversalAchromat/Aplanat⋅<10x, 100x>⋅<20x, 40x, 100x>
Darkfield, dryN.A. 0.80~0.95⋅<4x~40x>
Darkfield, oilN.A. 1.20~1.43⋅<4x~100x>
Stain-Free AchromatSwing-Out N.A. 0.90⋅<4x~100x>
Table 2

From the data in Table 2, that is evident that substage condensers have actually a good deal that interchangeability among different applications. Because that instance, the DIC global achromat/aplanat condenser is advantageous for brightfield, darkfield, and phase contrast, in enhancement to the primary DIC application. Various other condensers have comparable interchangeability. We will attend to various aspects of individual approaches that require modified condensers in our section on Specialized Microscopy Techniques. Please feel complimentary to visit this interesting part of our Website for more specific information around substage condensers.

Contributing Authors

Mortimer Abramowitz - Olympus America, Inc., two Corporate center Drive., Melville, brand-new York, 11747.

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Michael W. Davidson - nationwide High Magnetic ar Laboratory, 1800 east Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.