Because we know just how trick understanding how microscopes work can be, we have composed an easy to read guide that helps one understand what the parts of a microscope are.
Before anything, you should know that the classic compound microscope has two distinct lenses that ensure that its user is supplied with enough magnification. Therefore, each owner of a device of this type should know that the unit that he/she uses has an ocular lens (the eyepiece one) and an objective lens that is situated close to the sample that is being examined.
This is true for all types of compound microscopes. So, whether you own a microscope for veterinary use or one for coins, these specifications still apply to your unit.
Let’s get familiar with the basics
First things first, it might be useful that you know that the piece that you look through when analyzing a sample is called an eyepiece lens. Most models come provided with two lenses, one for the right eye and one for the left. These lenses usually have a magnification ratio between 10x and 15x. Moreover, the unit’s eyepiece lenses are connected to its objective lenses via a tube.
Additionally, all microscopes come provided with an arm that supplies the needed support for the before mentioned tube. As a plus, this arm has the task of connecting this tube to the base of the device. What is more, each model includes an illuminator also known as a light source. However, older models include a mirror that reflects the light provided by an external source.
The stage is another important part of a device of this type that you should get familiarized with. The stage is the name of the platform where you lay your slides that contain the samples that you want to examine. A microscope’s stage has to be flat, and it usually comes equipped with some clips that you can use to set the slides in the required position.
It is important that you know that newer, more developed units have electrical stages. These advanced models are often designed with two knobs that the user uses to move the stage to the right or the left as well as up and down.
The turret or the moving nosepiece is another part of your microscope that you should know. This part was designed so that it keeps the objective lenses secure. Furthermore, the turret is quite practical because it can be moved in order to modify the power of the lenses.
No matter if you own an outstanding trinocular microscope or a traditional unit, all the devices from this line of products have objective lenses. Depending on the model, a microscope can have between 3 and four lenses that have four different ranges of power that go from 4x, to 10x, 40x and even 100x.
Another important adjustment that is said to decide just how small is the distance between the slide and the objective lens is the rack stop. This part is usually pre-installed by the manufacturer, and it is highly appreciated due to the fact that it can keep one from breaking the unit’s objective lenses by bringing them too close to the slide.
The condenser lens is responsible for focusing the light for you to get a clear, bright view of your sample. When settling for a condenser light, it is best that you purchase the unit with the highest power, usually more than 400x. The main advantage of these lenses is the fact that they supply the buyer with sharp images that units that don’t have them are incapable of delivering.
Last but not least, we believe that it is essential that we mention the importance of a microscope’s iris. Also known as a diaphragm, the iris is the disk that rotates under the stage of the unit. Its purpose is to modify the intensity of the light delivered to the slide. By doing so, the iris can provide you with just the needed light intensity so that you can thoroughly examine your samples without feeling hindered by the lack of illumination.
What are the must-have features in a new microscope?
Settling for a feature-packed unit is a task that many science enthusiasts find rather exhausting. However, if you want to end up with a unit that can offer you crisp and bright images, it is best that you only purchase a model that is made from metal and that has all optical elements made out of glass. This way you can rest assured knowing that the unit will do its job in the long run.
Moreover, whenever you are in the market for such a product, it is recommendable that you only purchase a model from a source that you know that you can trust. Therefore, it might be best to avoid sketchy stores where they do offer no warranty agreements.
Additionally, stay away from second-hand units. If you aren’t an expert when it comes to microscopes, chances are that you won’t be able to assess a model’s condition prior to buying it correctly.
Last but not least, the specialists advise against buying a model that has priory been used in a school or learning institution. The main reason for this has to do with the fact that these units are usually poorly maintained, overused and abused.