Incident light polarization microscopy (ILPM) is an optical method conventionally used in the research of materials with high reflection coefficients, such as metals, crystals, and minerals. This technique is very useful for visualization of living cells in biological preparations, which generally have lower reflection coefficients. As the visualization of cells by ILPM occurs under incident light conditions, the method is particularly suited for in vivo studies of superficial structures and for isolated preparations that are too thick for transmitted light microscopy. This chapter discusses the principle of ILPM, its advantages and limitations, and its application for visualizing the poorly reflecting sensory hair cells in the epithelium of the macula of the fish lateral line in vivo. It also describes the lateral line preparation as some characteristics essential to the method can be illustrated with this preparation. ILPM has been successfully applied to several other poorly reflecting biological objects that are unsuited for transmitted light microscopy because of their thickness. A comparison of this method with some other methods is also presented in the chapter.
|Methods in Neurosciences