Monday, November 4, 2013

Tips for Achieving the Best Possible Microscope Resolution

Biological microscopes provide high magnification and optimal resolution is key to viewing a high quality image. Follow these tips in order to achieve the best possible resolution from your light microscope.
  • Choose microscope objectives with the highest NA and correction.
  • Use only aplanatic or achromat substage condensers.
  • Use high magnification, corrected oculars consistent with viewing comfort and lighting conditions.
  • Use Kohler illumination.
  • Employ yellow-green filters, especially with achromat objectives, whenever possible.
  • Center the entire optical system and substage condenser.
  • Correct for improper coverslip thickness, or use only one of the prescribed thickness.
  • Use immersion oil of the proper characteristics and avoid bubble formation on the slide.
  • Adjust illumination for optimum used Numerical Aperture (NA) of an objective within its available NA.
  • Use high ambient light levels with high microscope illumination levels.
  • Maintain a high level of cleanliness of optical elements.
  • Recognize optical artifacts and, when possible, adjust conditions to minimize them.
  • Know the microscope through practice and manipulation with known test objects.
Want some further info about microscope resolution? You might find these books helpful:
  • McLaughlin, Robert, Special Methods in Light Microscopy, Microscope Publications Ltd., 1977.
  • Belling, John, The Use of the Microscope, McGraw-Hill, 1930.
  • Oliver, C.W., The Intelligent Use of the Microscope, Chemical Publishing Co. Inc., 1953.