Microscopes give us a way to see things that we otherwise would not be able to see with the naked eye, such as cells and other tiny organisms. There are three main types of microscopes: light, electron, and local probe. but they all have one thing in common: an objective lens. This lens focuses light onto the subject through an ocular lens and eyepiece. The image is magnified by both lenses so you can get a better view of your subject. A compound microscope lets you use two sets of lenses for even more magnification power, or if you want to study something closer up. stereoscopic, petrographic, confocal, fluorescence, electronic, transmission, scanning, scanning probe, tunnel effect, field ion, digital and virtual are other common types of microscopes we’ll discuss later in this article. In this article you’ll learn:
- What is a Microscope?
- Applications and Uses of Microscopes
- Criteria of Choosing a Microscope
- 20 Types of Microscopes and their Functions
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What is a Microscope?
A microscope is an instrument used to magnify objects that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. There are two main types of microscopes: optical and electron. Optical microscopes use lenses to magnify objects, while electron microscopes use a beam of electrons to create a magnified image. Both types of microscopes can be used to observe living cells, bacteria, and other microorganisms.
Applications and Uses of Microscopes
Many different health fields, Research centers, and biology sectors employ microscopes:
- Biology: Microscopes can be used to investigate the cellular make-up and growth patterns of microorganisms.
- Medicine: In laboratories, microscopes are frequently used to examine samples and check for the presence of diseases like bacteria, fungi, or other dangerous microorganisms. For instance, in histopathology, tissue samples are viewed under a microscope for diagnostic purposes as well.
- Pharmaceutical Industry: In the pharmaceutical sector, microscopes are used to guarantee product quality and safety. Scientists examine the products under a microscope to find any potential flaws or pollutants.
- Training: There are models made specifically for use in university or classroom laboratories.
- Legal and Forensic Medicine: For the purpose of presenting evidence in court, material collected at a crime scene is examined under a microscope. It is possible to study substances including dust, glass, fragments of cloth, bodily fluids, hair, ink, and microbes.
- Research: Non-living things can also be studied with microscopes. This can be helpful in understanding the structure of materials and in identifying impurities. Microscopes can also be used to examine objects at a very small scale, such as atoms and molecules.
Criteria of Choosing a Microscope
Given the wide range of uses for which microscopes are put to use, different uses require different selection criteria. Magnification, observation method, configuration, number of eyepieces, and kind of lighting are the five basic factors that should be taken into consideration while selecting a microscope.
- Total magnification: is the consequence of the objective and eyepieces’ magnification.
- Microscopic observation technique
- The number of eyepieces: Microscopes come in three different configurations: monocular, binocular, and trinocular.
- Type of lighting: Halogen or LED illumination is used most frequently.
- Microscope configuration: Most microscopes fall under the category of “upright” microscopes, in which the sample is illuminated from below and observations are done from above. Additionally, there are inverted microscopes, which have the light source above the sample and the objectives below.
20 Types of Microscopes and their Functions
- Optical microscope
- Compound microscope
- stereoscopic microscope
- Petrographic microscope
- Microscopio confocal
- fluorescence microscope
- Electronic microscope
- transmission electron microscope
- scanning electron microscope
- scanning probe microscope
- scanning tunneling microscope
- Field ion microscope
- Digital microscope
- virtual microscope
- dark field microscope
- simple microscope
- ultraviolet light microscope
- binocular microscope
- Trinocular microscope
Optical microscopes are the most common type of microscopes used in laboratories and schools. They use visible light and lenses to magnify objects. The first optical microscope was invented in the 1670s and has undergone many improvements since then. The resolution of an optical microscope is limited by the wavelength of light, which is why it cannot be used to observe very small objects.
A compound microscope is a type of microscope that uses two or more lenses to magnify an object. The lenses are arranged in a series, with the object being viewed through the first lens and the image being magnified by the second lens.
Compound microscopes are usually more powerful than simple microscopes, and can be used to view things that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. They are also able to magnify an object more than a simple microscope, making them ideal for use in research.
these types of microscopes are not without their drawbacks, however. They can be expensive, and their complex design can make them difficult to use. Additionally, the image produced by a compound microscope can be distorted, making it difficult to see details clearly.
A stereoscopic microscope is a type of microscope that uses two separate optical paths to create a three-dimensional image of an object. Unlike a conventional microscope, which uses a single optical path, a stereoscopic microscope uses two separate optical paths to create a three-dimensional image of an object. This type of microscope is often used in medical and scientific applications where a three-dimensional view of an object is needed.
The petrographic microscope is a type of optical microscope that is specifically designed for studying rocks and minerals. This microscope is equipped with a polarizing filter that allows for the study of minerals in thin sections. In addition, the petrographic microscope is also equipped with a variety of other filters that can be used for studying different aspects of rocks and minerals.
The confocal microscope is a microscope that uses a special illumination technique to obtain high-resolution images of three-dimensional samples. The light is focused on a single point on the sample, and images are captured using a specialized camera.
This technique allows high-quality images of moving samples to be obtained and is also useful for studying samples that are transparent.
A fluorescence microscope is a type of microscope that uses fluorescence to generate an image. Fluorescence is the process of a molecule absorbing light at one wavelength and then re-emitting it at another wavelength.
This process can be used to create an image of a sample by shining light of a certain wavelength onto the sample and then observing the emitted light with a detector. Fluorescence microscopes are used in a variety of fields, including biology, medicine, and materials science.
An electronic microscope is a microscope that uses an electron beam to create an image of the specimen. The electron beam is generated by an electron gun and is focused by an electromagnetic lens. The image is displayed on a screen, much like a television screen.
The main advantage of an electronic microscope over a light microscope is that it can magnify objects much more than a light microscope.
Additionally, the images produced by an electronic microscope are usually much sharper and clearer than those produced by a light microscope. There are two main types of electronic microscopes: the transmission electron microscope (TEM) and the scanning electron microscope (SEM).
TEMs use a beam of electrons that passes through the specimen to create an image. SEMs use a beam of electrons that is scanned across the surface of the specimen to create an image. Both TEMs and SEMs have a high magnification power and can produce very detailed images.
However, TEMs can only be used to examine very thin specimens, while SEMs can be used to examine both thin and thick specimens.
transmission electron microscope (Types of Microscopes)
A transmission electron microscope (TEM) is an instrument that uses a beam of electrons to create a magnified image of a sample. TEMs are used in a wide variety of fields, including materials science, engineering, medicine, and biology. TEMs work by passing a beam of electrons through a sample.
The electrons interact with the atoms in the sample, and the resulting pattern of electrons is used to create a magnified image of the sample. TEMs can achieve resolutions down to 0.1 nm, making them ideal for studying small samples.
TEMs are used in a wide variety of fields, including materials science, engineering, medicine, and biology. TEMs can be used to study the structure of materials, examine the properties of small samples, and investigate the behavior of cells and molecules.
scanning electron microscope
A scanning electron microscope (SEM) is a powerful tool for observing the nanoscale world. It uses a focused beam of electrons to scan a sample and create a detailed image. SEMs can provide information about the shape, size, and composition of a sample.
They are used in a variety of fields, including materials science, engineering, and biology. SEMs have a resolution that is much higher than that of optical microscopes. They can be used to observe features that are less than one nanometer in size.
SEMs also have the ability to collect data from a larger area of a sample than an optical microscope. This makes them ideal for studying the surface of a sample. SEMs are expensive and require special training to use. They are typically found in research labs and universities.
scanning probe microscope (Types of Microscopes)
A scanning probe microscope (SPM) is a type of microscope that uses a physical probe to scan a sample surface. SPMs are used to obtain high-resolution images of the surface of a sample, and can also be used to measure local properties such as surface roughness, topography, and electrical properties.
SPMs were first developed in the late 1970s and have since become an important tool in nanotechnology and materials science.
SPMs have resolutions on the order of nanometers and can be used to image and measure a variety of different samples, including metals, semiconductors, and biomaterials. There are a variety of different types of SPMs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
The most common type of SPM is the atomic force microscope (AFM), which uses a sharp tip to scan the surface of a sample. AFMs can be used to image a variety of different samples, including metals, semiconductors, and biomaterials.
Other types of SPMs include the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and the scanning electron microscope (SEM). STMs are capable of imaging conducting surfaces, while SEMs can be used to image a variety of different samples, including metals, semiconductors, and biomaterials.
scanning tunneling microscope
The scanning tunneling microscope (STM) is a powerful tool used to investigate the electronic properties of materials at the atomic level. This instrument uses a sharp probe to tunnel through the surface of a material, allowing researchers to map the electronic structure of the material with incredible precision.
STM has been used to study a wide variety of materials, from superconductors to DNA. This powerful tool has revolutionized our understanding of many important materials and continues to be an important tool in the field of materials science.
Field ion microscope (Types of Microscopes)
A field ion microscope is a powerful tool used to view and study the structure of atoms and molecules. This type of microscope uses a beam of electrons to ionize atoms or molecules in a sample, which then creates a field of ions that can be manipulated and studied. The field ion microscope is incredibly powerful and can provide scientists with a great deal of information about the structure of matter.
A digital microscope is a microscope that uses a digital camera to capture images of specimens. These images can be displayed on a computer screen or projector, or they can be stored in a digital format. Digital microscopes offer many advantages over traditional microscopes, including the ability to take pictures or videos of specimens, magnify images, and share images with others.
Virtual microscopes are computer-based tools that allow users to magnify and examine digital images of specimens. These microscopes can be used to examine a variety of specimens, including cells, tissues, and organs.
Virtual microscopes offer a number of advantages over traditional microscopes, including the ability to view specimens in greater detail, the ability to share images with other users, and the ability to store images for future reference.
dark field microscope
A dark field microscope is an optical microscope that utilizes dark field illumination to observe specimens. In dark field microscopy, light is scattered by the specimen and does not directly illuminate the image plane, resulting in a dark background.
This technique is used to observe living cells, bacteria, and other microorganisms that cannot be seen using a bright field microscope. Darkfield microscopy can also be used to observe objects that are transparent or have low contrast.
simple microscope (Types of Microscopes)
A simple microscope is a tool that magnifies objects so that they can be seen more clearly. This type of microscope is often used in classrooms and laboratories, as it is a relatively low-cost option compared to other types of microscopes. Simple microscopes typically have two lenses – an objective lens and an eyepiece lens – and use light to illuminate the object being viewed.
ultraviolet light microscope
An ultraviolet light microscope is a powerful tool for viewing and studying minute specimens. This microscope uses ultraviolet light to illuminate the specimen, which then allows for high-resolution imaging. This type of microscope is often used to study bacteria and other microorganisms.
binocular microscope (Types of Microscopes)
A binocular microscope is an optical microscope that uses two separate optical systems, one for each eye, to magnify an object. This allows for three-dimensional imaging of the specimen and provides a more immersive experience for the user. Binocular microscopes are often used for dissecting specimens and for viewing live cells, as they provide a more natural view of the specimen.
A trinocular microscope is a type of microscope that has three eyepieces instead of two. This allows for two people to look through the microscope at the same time, which can be helpful for teaching or collaborating on a project. Trinocular microscopes also have a camera port that can be used to take pictures or record videos of what you are seeing.
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