Frederik Zernike


Fredrik Zernike won the Nobel Prize in Physics "for his demonstration of the phase contrast method, especially for his invention of the phase contrast microscope." Fredrik Zernike describes in his Nobel lecture how he was not really looking to create the phase contrast microscope, rather he was working with diffraction gratings, and accidently discovered the phase contrast phenomenon. The method takes the light illuminating the specimen in a microscope and phase shifts it so that its phase matches the light scattered off of the specimen. This improves the contrast of the image.