Demonstration microscope and Fourier optics

16 Janvier 2008 , Rédigé par JW Publié dans #Recent research work

As an interdisciplinary project for students of the Ecole Centrale Marseille, a joint team with my lab developed a demonstration version of a trinocular microscope. The aim is to introduce students to the principles of image formation, Fourier optics, and basic contrast filtering techniques in microscopy.  This work follows a pioneering demonstration by Peter Evenett (Leeds, UK).

Two USB video cameras are used: the first one observes the image of the sample, the second is conjugated to the microscope objective’s back focal plane (Fourier plane). This allows a simultaneous monitoring of both direct and Fourier images.


As an example, the following picture shows the direct (left) and Fourier (right) images of gratings with two different pitches. Smaller pitches yield farer diffracted orders in Fourier space.


Different kind of filters can be set into the Fourier plane, direct observation on their influence on image formation can be inferred. In the following, a black mask is set in the back focal plane to suppress the central (non-diffracted) order. Only the first (plus and minus) diffracted orders are transmitted and contribute to the final image, giving a crisper contrast.