Phase-Contrast Microscopy

∞ generated and posted on 2015.12.31 ∞

Relatively common means of viewing living cells with magnification and substantial contrast but without staining.

Phase-contrast microscopy takes advantage of difference in the index of refraction between a specimen, its background, and in many cases internal detail as well in order to achieve contrast where normally the observed specimens would be transparent as viewed through a microscope.

In microscopy the trick is to attain sufficient illumination, resolution, magnification, and contrast. What Phase-contrast microscopy allows is substantial contrast especially of living materials but without staining. Since staining often will kill a specimen, phase-contrast microscopy is a handy and easy to use means of seeing cells or details of cells while they are still alive, functioning, and in many cases capable of movement.

The following is a movie of mitosis as shot using phase-contrast microscopy:

The next two are gorgeous movies of paramecia: