Darkfield Microscopes

Darkfield compound light microscopes are light microscopes fitted with a darkfield condenser and sometimes special microscope objectives with a darkfield iris diaphragm built inside. These types of microscopes are useful for examining live blood cells under darkfield microscopy techniques. What is the advantage of viewing blood using a darkfield microscope? This question commonly comes up. First of all, blood when viewed under a high power compound light microscope with normal brightfield illumination is translucent and with little viewing contrast. If a medical physician wants to see the blood cells better using the brightfield transmitted light and a normal brightfield light condenser, they often will stain the blood specimen. However, the staining process also affects the living and natural characteristics of the blood cells.

Using unstained blood preserves the natural conditions of the blood. Another advantage of using a darkfield microscope for live blood cell analysis is that the darkfield microscopy technique allows features in the blood to be seen clearly that would not be detected by any other method, not even phase contrast microscopy. The use of the darkfield microscope has a wide range of applications in the natural health and natural medicine fields. The live blood microscopist examines a drop of the patient’s blood under high power magnification using the compound darkfield microscope. Features found in the blood are noted. The special equipment used in darkfield microscopy consists of a darkfield condenser, an extra powerful illumination source, and special microscope objectives with darkfield iris diaphragms.

The darkfield condenser can be either oil immersion or dry. The oil immersion darkfield condenser takes a drop of immersion fluid on its top lens. The same fluid drop comes into contact with the bottom of the microscope slide holding the blood specimen. Both oil and dry darkfield condensers have a round disk in the center of the light path blocking all transmitted light. Only scattered light is allowed to illuminate the specimen. Items floating in the blood are brightly illuminated against the black background of the darkfield condenser disc. Since all direct light has been blocked, it is necessary to have special high power illumination in order to see clearly enough. Common darkfield microscopy systems have 150 Watt halogen bulb illumination sources. Another part of a darkfield microscope is the special objective with iris diaphragm. The iris diaphragm allows the numerical aperature to be adjusted, and the amount of light to be controlled. The iris diaphragm in the darkfield condenser is a necessary component for good images using a darkfield microscope.

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