Have you tried dark-field on that specimen?

by Mike Samworth

It is always worth exploring a specimen using a number of different illumination techniques. Whilst I suppose most of us have our microscope set up ready for bright-field illumination it is often just lazyness that prevents a really good look with a number of techniques. If you think though, it only takes a few minutes to set up for say phase-contrast, or to pop a patch-stop under the condenser for either dark-field or Rheinberg effects. Regular readers would also expect me to mention crossed polars here too!

The photomicrograph below is of an arranged slide made by the skilled Klaus Kemp. Klaus is still making slides, very much so in fact. His details can be obtained from the 'Sales and Wants' section of the site. Recently he has been following in Moeller's footsteps in making some of the arranged designs that made him so famous. (See earlier article on his type slide).

Whilst the slide looks super in normal bright-field I think that it really looks best in dark-field, though photographs, especially via the computer screen can never do justice to the marvellous jewel-like effect that you get in viewing down the microscope.

Diatoms arranged by Klaus Kemp.

So have another look at some of your favourite slides or subjects especially freshwater life, under different illumination, it is well worth it.

All photomicrographs by Mike Samworth.

If any reader wishes to ask about any of the above, or to comment, please do get in touch by contacting me.

Editor's note:

The Micscape article Making dark-field illumination is easy describes how to simply and cheaply experiment with dark-field.


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First published in June 1998 Micscape Magazine.

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