Microscopes – types of condensers

The microscope is an instrument that increases the size of an image and allows you to see more details than would be possible to perceive with the naked eye. The condenser of a microscope is a key part of a microscope, it focuses the light that passes through the stage of the microscope where the sample is placed, thus providing illumination, contrast and clarity in a uniform way to the sample.

The condenser is made up of a lens or set of lenses mounted directly below the stage. And the intensity of the light can be adjusted by moving the condenser of the microscope closer or further from the stage, and the width of the beam can be adjusted by making the aperture wider or smaller.

Function of a condenser

The main function of a condenser is to change the path of the light rays emitted by the spotlight and thus create an illumination cone, allowing the intensity and angle of this light cone to be adjusted. In order to regulate these two parameters, the capacitors have a built-in diagram that allows regulating the amount of light that reaches the capacitor. The proper setting of this diagram is what allows you to regulate the contrast, illumination and depth of the observation field.

In the field of microscopy it is extremely essential to learn how to adjust the condenser, because when it is used improperly it can have a great impact on the quality and clarity of the image.

Condenser types

There are different types of condenser for various uses and applications. Here are the four most common types of condenser:

  • Abbe condenser: It is a type of condenser designed by Ernst Abbe in 1870. It is a simple condenser, which does not correct for important optical aberrations. The simplest form of this type of condenser is composed of two lenses. A biconvex lens that directs light to a second plano-convex lens that concentrates it onto the sample. This type of condenser also has a diaphragm to regulate the amount of light, it allows to adjust the vertical position in relation to the stage. It is not suitable for making observations that require high magnification, but it is commonly used for the most common observations (low magnification).
  • Aplanatic condenser: It is a type of condenser that corrects spherical aberration. And they are used for specific applications, such as black and white photomicrography. They have a combination of at least five lenses to correct this aberration.
  • Achromatic condenser: It is a type of condenser that specifically corrects chromatic aberration. Containing approximately four lenses, it is useful for applications that require moderate magnification.
  • Aplanatic-achromatic condenser: It is a more complex type of condenser composed of more than eight lenses and that provides a higher quality observation. This is because it corrects both spherical and chromatic aberration. It is used in professional applications where high magnification is required.

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