Lab Microscopes

From the invention of the first microscope in 1590 through the design of digital microscopes affixed with cameras, researchers have used microscopes to examine objects at a level not possible with the naked eye. This equipment not only helps students better understand biology, but microscopes also assist with groundbreaking research in many disciplines of science. Different types of microscopes as well as microscope accessories, like light bulbs, slides, microscope cleaners, and coverslips, are produced by a variety of manufacturers.

What are the different types of microscopes?

While the spectrum of microscopes ranges from simple children's toys to extremely complex machines, the midrange microscope is an important piece of equipment in biology laboratories. Each type of microscope has its own benefits.

  • The compound microscope, also called a light microscope, provides a magnification of up to 2,000 times. These microscopes have two lenses: one lens at the eyepiece and the other closer to the object. They also usually feature a light that shines up through the specimen.
  • The scanning electron microscope is an advanced piece of equipment that provides up to 300,000-times magnification power. These machines send a beam of electrons and measure how individual electrons react to hitting the sample. This data creates a picture of the sample’s surface. Biologists use this tool to study detailed images of organelles inside of cells that are not visible with other microscopes, for example.
  • The stereo microscope, or dissecting microscope, offers a magnification of up to 40 times. These instruments utilize light reflected from the sample. Since each eyepiece follows a separate path, scientists can see a three-dimensional image of cells and tissues.

What is a digital microscope?

A digital microscope consists of a traditional compound microscope fitted with a digital camera that connects to a computer via USB. Software on the computer allows researchers to store, measure, and analyze the pictures. The production of these microscopes fitted with cameras changed the way students study science. They let an entire classroom or lab group see the image in the microscope at the same time.

How do you determine the power of optical microscopes?

Optical microscopes consist of one or more lenses and a light source. There is a lens in the eyepiece, usually 10 times, as well as an objective lens that is closest to the sample. To find the total magnification power, multiply the power of each lens together.

What are some brands of microscopes?

Zeiss is a long-running brand of microscope, having its origins in 1846 in the workshop of Carl Zeiss in Germany. The science community accepts these microscopes as high-quality instruments, and the Zeiss company has a wide collection of microscopes for sale. Other popular brands include Leica, American Optical, and Nikon.

What are the parts of a compound microscope?

The base and arm provide stability and structure to the microscope. The magnifying component consists of an eyepiece that is connected by a tube to the objective lens. Scientists place the sample objects on a slide, then place the slide on the stage underneath the lenses. As the light shines up from the base, the viewer can bring the image into focus by using the fine and coarse adjustment knobs.