A Guide to Purchasing a Compound Microscope

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The microscope is one of the greatest inventions in science giving the ability to place small subjects such as cells and microorganisms on a slide and magnify them between 40x and 1500x allowing for a clear magnified view of the object. There are several different types of microscopes used in the lab, but the compound light microscope is one of the most popular. The Microscope features the following basic parts:

  • The eyepiece lens
  • Revolving nosepiece
  • The stage with clips
  • Illuminator
  • The objective lenses
  • The tube
  • The coarse and fine focus knobs

There are other finer details of a microscope, but the above features are of importance when purchasing a compound microscope. Here are some important tips to assist you with your decision.

What do you need the microscope for?

The specific work that you are doing will determine whether you need a compound microscope or another similar type such as the stereoscope. The compound microscope produces images which are turned upside down and reversed from the left to the right. The space between the slide and the lens of the regular compound microscope is small, therefore is not suitable for observing large objects. Larger objects are more suitable for stereoscope microscopes. Compound microscopes are great when observing tiny microorganisms which are magnified hundreds of times for analysis.

Picking the right basic build of the microscope

When choosing a microscope, the build is an important factor worth considering as it determines the longevity of the microscope. Look for a frame which is made with metallic alloys as they are good at minimizing vibrations. The alloys also minimize the effects that changes in weather conditions can have on the compound microscope. Also, ensure the microscope also has:

  • Optical glass lenses
  • Ball bearings in the revolving parts
  • Reagent resistant finish as opposed to plain paint
  • Metal focus gears, metal screws and metal frames
  • Good quality lenses

The value of a scope lies in how well it helps you with the observation. When choosing lenses, remember that they must be paired with an equally great focus system so that they can produce the perfect images. When buying the lenses, check whether they have DIN labeling system on them. DIN stands for Deutsche Industrie Norm, which is the accepted standard in lens labeling. There are some which come with JIS, which is a Japanese labeling system, but it would be better to pick the lenses with the DIN system. Choose a microscope with achromatic lenses as this usually means that they are colour corrected, and you can view virtually anything that you put under the scope with these lenses.

Selecting the eyepiece

The eyepiece is also known as the ocular, and it will be the closest to your eyes. The ideal scope has a wide field eyepiece as it is easier to look into and observe things properly when the field is wide.

The lighting system

This is what illuminates the subject from below and determines how clearly it can be seen. There are different lighting systems which come with most compound microscopes:

  • Fluorescent: the fact that fluorescent lamps make the objects look really white tricks our eyes into thinking that the object is as clear as it would be when observed in nature.
  • Tungsten: Also known as incandescent lighting, tungsten lighting is yellowish and will not show the subject in its natural state.
  • LED: the LED lamp is the latest and arguably the best technology in compound microscope lighting. The lighting can also come with a rechargeable battery for cordless operation.
  • Halogen: These are a little less popular than LED and are more preferred by medical practitioners as opposed to students. Halogen, however, is fast becoming dated technology.

The above considerations are the crucial points to have in mind when purchasing a microscope. We hope you found them useful. As always, you can contact the Westlab team on 1877 822 1455 for any additional questions you may have when finding a microscope suitable for your lab.

 

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