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Practical Digital Photomicrography: Photography Through the Microscope for the Life Sciences by Brian Matsumoto

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8.12. Contrast by Phase Differences

8.12.1. Introduction

Many biological structures have no intrinsic contrast. They are clear and difficult to see against a bright background. Staining, as mentioned earlier in this chapter, is one method of increasing the specimen's ability to absorb light; however, this is deleterious to living organisms since the dyes are toxic. Safer ways to create contrast, sometimes referred as optical staining, require special optical accessories.

Light is slowed by the transparent structures of cells and thrown out of phase in comparison to the light that traverses outside them. These phase changes are invisible to the naked eye. However, by altering the microscope optics, it is possible to visualize their effects. ...

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