Through the microscope

Posts tagged ‘anoptral’


Diatoms with anoptral phase contrast

Anoptral contrast- The meopta has more or less co-operated with me today and we have pictures to show for our efforts. After much huffing and puffing I managed to get the mirror, condenser and objective lenses aligned; sort of, just about, almost.

The Meopta’s condenser  is still a tad out of alignment but I think I have got away with it.

Anoptral phase contrast is much like normal phase contrast as far as set up goes. You need Kohler illumination and you need to use a phase telescope to align phase rings on the condenser turret with phase rings in the objective. The main difference is that with anoptral phase contrast the phase plates are a sooty brown colour. This reduces halos around your phase objects and gives a rather soothing brown background. Very easy on the eyes..

What do you think?

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, Anoptral phase


diatoms, anoptral contrast



Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatoms, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatoms, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast


Diatom, anoptral contrast

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Diatoms, anoptral contrast

Diatoms, Anoptral phase

Spock’s sister does not see

Spock’s sister is cross. She has had an argument with a microscope. The argument lasted all day and so far the microscope is winning.

I have a very groovy Meopta anoptral phase contrast condenser and I bought a cute little Meopta microscope to put it in; today I thought I would get everything set up and take some pretty diatom pictures for you to see. It didn’t happen.

Anoptral contrast works in a similar way to phase contrast but the phase rings have sooty phase plates, this means you get less of a halo than with normal phase contrast. It also means you get some really pretty pictures with a beautiful brown background. At least that’s what should happen.

What actually happened was I set up my external illuminator (with condenser lens and iris), adjusted my mirror. Did all the usual Kohler type stuff but no matter what I did the condenser iris was so far off to one side that it was crazy. I can only just see the edge of it. I managed to get some nice dark ground images but that’s not what I was aiming for. No point attempting photomicrography.

The condenser fits the carrier perfectly, so why is it so badly misaligned?

Either the condenser is misaligned or the objective turret is misaligned. There are no centring screws on the condenser or on the carrier. Only phase wrenches, oh to be aligning phase rings!

I haven’t the faintest idea how to alter the objective turret. I twizzled the monocular tube but that didn’t seem to have any effect. I’m sure the problem is with the condenser. I really hope there are no prisms out of whack. I don’t know what images are produced by an out of alignment prism but I’m absolutely certain I would not be able to fix such a problem. I don’t have the tools or the skill set.

I’m cross and i need to consult the oracle (my friend Merv). He’ll know what to do. I’m sure he’ll know what to do. If he doesn’t I shall cry.

I shall get it sorted out and I shall post pretty pictures. watch this space….

PS saw the quack, no obvious signs of intracranial hypertension. Optic nerves look healthy (thank goodness). Blood pressure a reasonable 120/78. She took bloods. Headache from hell won’t budge. It’s been weeks but at least we still have the NHS. I do love the NHS.

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