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Microscopes

Factors affecting Resolving power of microscope?

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April 26, 2008 12:37PM

The limit of resolving power of a microscope is described by the Abbe criterion:

d=wl/NA

d being the minimal resolvable distance between two spots of the object

wl being the wavelength of the light used

NA being the numerical aperture of the microscope, which is equal to n*sin(a) with

n being the refraction index of the immersion liquid between object and objective

a being the aperture angle

because sin(a) is always smaller than 1 and n cannot rise above 1.7, the maximal resolving power of a microscope is about

d=wl/2

and thus only depends on the wavelength of the light used, which normally will be about 600 nm.