Darkfield Microscopy

Darkfield microscopy is a special form of microscopy in which the light beam is split in such a way that the edges of objects in the samples are illuminated so that they appear as silhouettes against a dark background — as opposed to brightfield microscopy which allows the examination of specimens against an illuminated field — and which washes out the tiny and faint objects that can be seen only in darkfield.  The second major difference between darkfield and other forms of microscopy is that darkfield can be used to view wet samples, including live blood and other liquids or apparently liquid substances.

Because of the differences in illumination, there are many features in samples that are only viewable in darkfield and never seen in other kinds of microscopy.  It is probably for this reason that some of the findings of darkfield microscopists are rejected by those who also examine slides but never see the objects reported by darkfield specialists.

Darkfield microscopy is not new.  However, to put everything in context, it might be worth noting that magnification of objects has fascinated and challenged many careful observers for countless centuries.  Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) is generally credited with the invention of the microscope, but it took his successors 150 years to match the quality Leeuwenhoek had managed with much simpler optics.

Likewise, Royal Raymond Rife's microscopes of more than half a century ago remain unrivaled today, this despite the advent of fiber optic illumination and other advances that, all other things equal, should have furthered the development of improved microscopes.

Points to Understand

The splitting of the light beam is achieved by blocking the light from coming up straight through the condenser.  This little obstacle causes the light to refract and appear to come from the edges.  Because darkfield permits the observer to see liquid samples, no stains are required and the objects in the sample may live for many days following removal from their source.  So, in addition to being able to see objects that are not visible in brightfield, darkfield microscopy facilitates the study of behavioral patterns that cannot be observed with stained or fixed specimens.

Since what we understand is often as not based on what we see, it goes without saying that opinions about blood, immunity, germs, and illness can be permanently transformed after only a few hours of darkfield viewing.

The ramifications of this statement are so vast that it will probably be wise to allow the understanding and appreciation of darkfield microscopy a little time to unfold and mature.  However, before doing so, let me simply make a couple of comments:

  • The idea that blood is sterile is based on the inability to see what is floating between the "recognized" blood components such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
  • An entire century of medicine was based on theories of germs and germ transmission that are tied to observations that are limited and possibly dubious.






Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2007