Tips and Tricks–Critical Illumination

At a recent science conference, we fielded questions in our digital microscopy workshops on how to exactly adjust the lighting on a microscope to achieve the perfect critical illumination.  Unless you are a laboratory technician or are an expert in microscopy, this can be a common question among users.

There are many factors that go into achieving the perfect illumination in microscopy: path of light beam, type of light source being used, grade level of the scope, experience of user, etc.  In our microscopy workshops, we focus on teaching our users how to set the critical illumination of a Ken-A-Vision compound microscope, but the instructions for correct alignment of the condenser is applicable to other branded microscopes with adjustable condensers.

In K-12 microscopy, the typical illumination of specimens in which light passes through the specimen and travels to your eye is called Bright Field microscopy.  In Bright Field microscopy, light is provided by a built in bulb which is reflected through the iris diaphragm, the condenser, the specimen, the objective, the eyepiece tube, and finally the ocular.

There are various control knobs on the microscope which affect the light path besides just the coarse and fine focus knobs.

If you are unfamiliar with the parts of the microscope, refer to our microscope primer for a refresher course.

To always see an image that is clear, bright, detailed, and sharp, follow these step-by-step instructions.  It will amaze you and your students how easy it is to get crisp, clear images and become an expert in microscopy.  This skill will be very helpful for your students to possess for their future technical skills and careers.






January 12, 2013