Differential interference contrast microscope
The differential interference contrast microscope (developed by Nomarski and others) is based on a different principle to the phase contrast microscope but produces the same type of image and is used in the same domain.
Differential interference contrast microscope technique
An initial optical system splits the light beam before it passes through the object and a second causes interference of the two beams, producing very pronounced artificial contrast where the light rays are out of phase. A mostly black and white image is seen in which the different structures are bordered on one side by white and on the other by black, giving a (false) impression of relief. Colour images can also be obtained.
Use of the differential interference contrast microscope
This microscope (like the phase contrast microscope) enables living cells to be studied without having to stain them. The phase contrast microscope produces a halo around the structures examined, which does not happen with the differential interference contrast microscope.
A fertilised egg seen under a differential interference contrast microscope. © Alan Handyside, Wellcome Images, CC by-nc-nd 2.0
Differential interference contrast microscope - 1 Photo