BASIC MICROSCOPY CONCEPTS - RESOLUTION & MAGNIFICATION

Posted by Gabriel Margonari on

Author: Motic Europe

RESOLUTION RULES MAGNIFICATION

Resolution may be defined as the ability of a reproducing system to separate individual signals, no matter what nature they are: e.g. optical or acoustical.

In widefield microscopy, resolution is understood as the ability of the microscope hardware, means optics, to separate individual events in a distance range down to roughly 220 microns. It is the objective which is the key element of any resolution calculation. Eyepieces and downstream digital cameras can only process the information flux which has entered the objective. The larger the opening angle of the objective, the more information is available for data processing.

The schoolbook tells us that the Numerical Aperture of an objective, indicated on the objective sleeve, is directly accessible for a calculation of the minimum distance which can be resolved. The following sequence of 20X lenses, starting from a Plan Achromat up to a Plan Apochromat, displays NAs from 0.40 (1) up to 0.65, (2, 3) thus increasing resolving power.

This formula has to be applied. (4)

d min is the minimum distance which can be resolved, NA the numerical aperture of objective and condenser respectively. In an ideal case both angles are identical (NA is the sinus value of a half opening angle of the objective). So taking into consideration that the human eye is most sensible in the range of 550nm (green), for a 20X objective we may calculate as follows:

Plan Achromat 20X

d min = 550nm/2 x 0.40 = 688nm

Plan Fluorite 20X

d min = 550nm/2 x 0.50 = 550nm

Plan Apochromat 20X

d min = 550nm/2x 0.65 = 423nm

So the resolution power for a 20X objective will be maxi- mum 423nm. Taking into consideration that the aperture diaphragm of a condenser will have to be closed for contrast reasons, this ideal calculation will not be verified. But it gives some idea about the limits of conventional light microscopy.

It may be worth to mention that the user can do a lot to maximize the image results. Any deviation from the standard cover slip thickness of 0.17mm, any overload of embedding media of the sample (which acts an additional cover slip), any grease or oil on the front lens of a dry objective will have a deep impact on the image result.

These images (5) display a diatom, a monocellular alga, enclosed in a silica exoskeleton with tiny pores of specific size. The left image resolves perfectly the arrangement of the pores, while the right image with the same magnification power is not able to display details.

 

Related products

The BA210 is designed for both educational and teaching environments from basic life sciences to medical applications. Through the Motic Infinity Optics (CCIS®), the BA210 delivers a new higher level of performance in education and training. Contrast methods like Phase Contrast, Polarization and Dark field are easily performed by using optional accessories.

Learn more>

Get the power of the Moticams for less with our newest ecoline series! What makes this new line of attachable digital microscope cameras the A-Class in Motic’s lineup of Moticam? The answer is in the letter. This camera has many features and characteristics that start with "A": AFFORDABLE, ACCESSORIES & ADAPTABLE.

Learn more>

Related posts

Basic Microscopy Concepts - Resolution & Magnification
Basic Microscopy Concepts - Polarization Contrast
Basic Microscopy Concepts - Phase Contrast Adjustment
Basic Microscopy Concepts - Parfocality Adjustment for Upright Microscopes
Basic Microscopy Concepts - Magnification on Screen
Basic Microscopy Concepts - Koehler Illumination
Basic Microscopy Concepts - Understanding the Field of View (FOV)
Basic Microscopy Concepts - The Cover Slip
Basic Microscopy Concepts - The C-mount: A Needful Thing
Basic Microscopy Concepts - How to Avoid Repairs
Basic Microscopy Concepts - Adjusting the Illumination

 

Feel free to reach out with our contact form here or chat with us directly if you have any immediate questions on our products and their applications.

← Older Post Newer Post →



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published