Contrast: Phase, Amplitude, and Color

  • Theodore George Rochow
  • Eugene George Rochow


Contrast, as was pointed out in Chapter 2, is an attribute contributing to visibility which is next to resolution in importance. Indeed, two parts of an object that are resolved separately still are not seen separately unless their images are contrasted against what is between them. In light microscopy, we are concerned about two principal kinds of contrast: colorless and color. In both kinds we are also concerned with intensity, the amplitude of the light waves. The intensity of the colorless kind of contrast is in terms of black, white, and intermediate grays. This kind of contrast comes from interference and reinforcement of light waves which originate at each point in the object but travel different paths and lengths through the optical system to form the final image.


Refractive Index Focal Plane Light Wave Phase Plate Modulation Contrast 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore George Rochow
    • 1
  • Eugene George Rochow
    • 2
  1. 1.North Carolina State University at RaleighRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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