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My Worst Mistake With difference between dark field and bright field microscopy

difference between dark field and bright field microscopy

What is difference between dark field and bright field microscopy Applications ?

Viewing Blood cells.
Viewing bacteria.
Viewing different types of algae.
Viewing hairline metal fractures.
Viewing diamonds and other precious stones.
Viewing shrimp and other vertebrae.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Bright Field Microscopy.
Application of Bright Field Illumination
-This technique is widely used in pathology to
view fixed tissue sections or cell films/smears
-In biological applications, brightfield observation is widely used for stained or naturally pigmented or highly contrasted specimens mounted on a glass microscope slide.

difference between dark field and bright field microscopy

When to Use a Dark Field Microscope?

difference between dark field and bright field microscopy are used in a number of different ways to view a variety of specimens that are hard to see in a light field unit. Live bacteria, for example, are best viewed with this type of microscope, as these organisms are very transparent when unstained.

There are multitudes of other ways to use dark field illumination, often when the specimen is clear or translucent. Some examples:

Dark field illumination of caffeine crystalsLiving or lightly stained transparent specimens

Single-celled organisms

Live blood samples

Aquatic environment samples (from seawater to pond water)

Living bacteria

Hay or soil samples

Pollen samples

Certain molecules such as caffeine crystals (right)

difference between dark field and bright field microscopy makes many invisible specimens appear visible. Most of the time the specimens invisible to bright field illumination are living, so you can see how important it is to bring them into view!

difference between dark field and bright field microscopy

What is difference between dark field and bright field microscopy?


All of us are quite familiar with the appearance and visibility of stars on a dark night, this despite their enormous distances from the Earth. Stars can be readily observed at night primarily because of the stark contrast between their faint light and the black sky.

Yet stars are shining both night and day, but they are invisible during the day because the overwhelming brightness of the sun “blots out” the faint light from the stars, rendering them invisible. During a total solar eclipse, the moon moves between the Earth and the sun blocking out the light of the sun and the stars can now be seen even though it is daytime. In short, the visibility of the faint star light is enormously enhanced against a dark background.

This principle is applied in darkfield (also called darkground) microscopy, a simple and popular method for making unstained transparent specimens clearly visible. Such objects often have refractive indices very close in value to that of their surroundings and are difficult to image in conventional brightfield microscopy. For instance, many small aquatic organisms have a refractive index ranging from 1.2 to 1.4, resulting in a negligible optical difference from the surrounding aqueous medium. These are ideal candidates for darkfield illumination.

Darkfield illumination requires blocking out of the central light which ordinarily passes through and around (surrounding) the specimen, allowing only oblique rays from every azimuth to “strike” the specimen mounted on the microscope slide. The top lens of a simple Abbe darkfield condenser is spherically concave, allowing light rays emerging from the surface in all azimuths to form an inverted hollow cone of light with an apex centered in the specimen plane. If no specimen is present and the numerical aperture of the condenser is greater than that of the objective, the oblique rays cross and all such rays will miss entering the objective because of their obliquity. The field of view will appear dark.

The darkfield condenser/objective pair illustrated in Figure 1 is a high-numerical aperture arrangement that represents darkfield microscopy in its most sophisticated configuration, which will be discussed in detail below. The objective contains an internal iris diaphragm that serves to reduce the numerical aperture of the objective to a value below that of the inverted hollow light cone emitted by the condenser. The cardioid condenser is a reflecting darkfield design that relies on internal mirrors to project an aberration-free cone of light onto the specimen plane.

When a specimen is placed on the slide, especially an unstained, non-light absorbing specimen, the oblique rays cross the specimen and are diffracted, reflected, and/or refracted by optical discontinuities (such as the cell membrane, nucleus, and internal organelles) allowing these faint rays to enter the objective. The specimen can then be seen bright on an otherwise black background. In terms of Fourier optics, darkfield illumination removes the zeroth order (unscattered light) from the diffraction pattern formed at the rear focal plane of the objective. This results in an image formed exclusively from higher order diffraction intensities scattered by the specimen.

The photomicrographs in Figure 2 illustrate the effects of darkfield and brightfield illumination on silica skeletons from a small marine protozoan (radiolarian) in a whole mount specimen. In ordinary brightfield, skeletal features of the radiolarian are not well defined and tend to be washed out in photomicrographs recorded either with traditional film or digitally captured. was taken in brightfield illumination with the condenser aperture diaphragm closed to a point where diffraction artifacts obscure some of the sample detail. This enhances specimen contrast at the expense of image distortion. Under darkfield illumination, more detail is present, especially in the upper portion of the organism, and the image acquires an apparent three-dimensional appearance. When a red filter is used in conjunction with a darkfield stop , the radiolarian takes on a colorful appearance that is more pleasing, although no additional detail is produced and there is even some reduction in image quality.

Specimens that have smooth reflective surfaces produce images due, in part, to reflection of light into the objective. In situations where the refractive index is different from the surrounding medium or where refractive index gradients occur (as in the edge of a membrane), light is refracted by the specimen. Both instances of reflection and refraction produce relatively small angular changes in the direction of light, allowing some to enter the objective. In contrast, some light striking the specimen is also diffracted, producing a 180-degree arc of light that passes through the entire numerical aperture range of the objective. The resolving power of the

difference between dark field and bright field microscopy

What is difference between dark field and bright field microscopy?

Brightfield microscopy uses light from the lamp source under the microscope stage to illuminate the specimen. This light is gathered in the condenser, then shaped into a cone where the apex is focused on the plane of the specimen. In order to view a specimen under a brightfield microscope, the light rays that pass through it must be changed enough in order to interfere with each other (or contrast) and therefore, build an image. At times, a specimen will have a refractive index very similar to the surrounding medium between the microscope stage and the objective lens. When this happens, the image can not be seen. In order to visualize these biological materials well, they must have a contrast caused by the proper refractive indices, or be artificially stained. Since staining can kill specimens, there are times when darkfield microscopy is used instead.

In darkfield microscopy the condenser is designed to form a hollow cone of light , as apposed to brightfield microscopy that illuminates the sample with a full cone of light. In darkfield microscopy, the objective lens sits in the dark hollow of this cone and light travels around the objective lens, but does not enter the cone shaped area. The entire field of view appears dark when there is no sample on the microscope stage. However, when a sample is placed on the stage it appears bright against a dark background. It is similar to back-lighting an object that may be the same color as the background it sits against – in order to make it stand out.

difference between dark field and bright field microscopy

difference between dark field and bright field microscopy disadvantages are:


While dark field can create beautiful images under the right circumstances, there are a number of disadvantages to difference between dark field and bright field microscopy:

1. Dark field needs an intense amount of light to work. This intense light can create glare and distortion. Therefore, dark field does not create reliable specimen measurements.

2. Dark field is sensitive to contaminants. You need to be meticulous about cleaning your specimen slides and all optical surfaces when performing dark field imaging, as every speck of dirt will want to light up when using dark field. You also need to be careful when preparing your specimens, as any contaminates (dust, air bubbles, etc) in your mounting, above or below the plane of focus, can degrade your image.

3. Specimens which are not thin enough are prone to degradation and distortion. The best dark field specimens should be thin to reduce diffraction artifacts.

Because of difference between dark field and bright field microscopy’s limitations and recent advances in microscopy techniques (such as phase contrast and DIC) dark field is not used often in modern imaging. However, dark field is seeing a resurgence in popularity as it is combined with other techniques such as fluorescence microscopy.

Limited colors (certain colors will appear, but they’re less accurate and most images will be just black and white)

Images can be difficult to interpret to those unfamiliar with difference between dark field and bright field microscopy

Although surface details can be very apparent, the internal details of a specimen often don’t stand out as much with a dark field setup.

difference between dark field and bright field microscopy

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