Light microscopy is an important feature of any biology lab and we are pleased to now have an inverted light microscope with phase contrast up and running in the Biomakespace.

Thank you to Open IP labs for donating the Nikon Diaphot 200 'scope and Alex Sossick and Ed Allegeyer of the Gurdon Insitute for helping us get it up and running this weekend!

What is an inverted microscope?

An inverted microscope is a microscope with its light source and condenser on the top, above the stage pointing down, while the objectives and turret are below the stage pointing up. Inverted microscopes are useful for observing living cells or organisms at the bottom of a large container (e.g., a tissue culture flask) under more natural conditions than on a glass slide, as is the case with a conventional microscope. They are also used in micromanipulation applications where space above the specimen is required for manipulator mechanisms and the microtools they hold,

adapted from Wikipedia, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0

What is phase contrast?

Phase-contrast microscopy is an optical-microscopy technique that converts phase shifts in light passing through a transparent specimen to brightness changes in the image. Phase shifts themselves are invisible, but become visible when shown as brightness variations.

Phase-contrast microscopy is particularly important in biology. It reveals many cellular structures that are not visible with a simpler bright-field microscope, as exemplified in the figure. These structures were made visible to earlier microscopists by staining, but this required additional preparation and killed the cells. The phase-contrast microscope made it possible for biologists to study living cells and how they proliferate through cell division.[1] After its invention in the early 1930s,[2] phase-contrast microscopy proved to be such an advancement in microscopy, that its inventor Frits Zernike was awarded the Nobel prize (physics) in 1953.[3]

adapted from Wikipedia, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0

What do we still need?

Our microscope only came with a 10x and 20x objective lens, so we're on the look-out for pre-2000 Nikon objectives or compatible lenses, which Alex assures us covers many manufacturers.

We also have another microscope that we're trying to get established with fluorescence, but it has some corrosion issues in the fine focus mechanism so if anyone has an adapter for the Nikon Diaphot 200 plus a fluorescent light source going spare, we'd be delighted to hear from you.

 


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