How Best to Light Your Microscope Sample, Part I

Ever wonder which lighting technique on a microscope is best for your samples? Different contrast methods could be vital to emphasize features and defects.

Motic Scientific offers the below Reflected Light Contrast Methods with some unique features. Let’s go through the most commonly used lighting techniques and explain how they can be used.

Brightfield - This is the most common method of lighting, the “default” in a microscope. It evenly illuminates a broad area of your sample and its intensity is also an important factor when capturing live images on your computer screen. What is also important to note is that more light is needed when going to higher objective magnifications. Both of Motic’s Panthera TEC and PA53 MET have automatic light intensity settings saved for each objective you select.

Darkfield - Light coming in at a sharp angle in order to expose surface defects. This contrast method is great for exposing surface scratches and dust particles. Due to the sharp angle of this light, a strong light source is needed. Typically a 100W Halogen or more modern LED Light source is desirable. Motic’s Panthera TEC has a segmentable Darkfield which allows you to illuminate light in certain quadrants in order to bring out sample features or defects that you would not otherwise see using other lighting techniques.

These contrast methods are used widely in different industries, such as the semiconductor industry and the additive manufacturing industry. For example, with patterned semiconductors, transparent films/coatings may have defects such as pits and localized stress which may cause circuit malfunction in the near or long term. Darkfield makes these defects far easier to see, compared to Brightfield.

In our next series, we will go over Polarization and DIC Contrast Methods.

If you are interested in obtaining imaging on your samples using any or all of the above techniques, click on the link below for an Imaging Appointment.

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