Polarizing microscopes are designed to image samples which are visible primarily due to optical anisotropy, or measurable differences in refractivity. Over 90% of solid samples exhibit optical properties that vary with the orientation of incident light and are therefore amenable to imaging. The technique offers significant advantages for samples that exhibit poor phase contrast by other means so as light or fluorescence. It can also reveal details concerning the structure and composition of materials.
Components including the polarizer and the analyzer are crucial to performance and quality should be considered accordingly. The light source and the lens objectives require consideration, as do the digital camera system and epi-illuminator components, if applicable.
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