5 Important Types of Microscope & Detailed Description

What is Microscope ?

The microscope is an instrument that is used for observing tiny objects in an enlarged manner. This technology has been innovated and upgraded over the years and in various dimensions, Every microscope contains some common parts such as 1) eyepiece lens 2)objective lens , 3) mechanical stage, 4) focusing knobs, 5) light source, and 6) condenser.

Different types of microscopes are specialized to perform certain functions, some of these are


Compound Microscope:

A compound microscope is used primarily to observe biological tissues, bacterial cells, blood cells, cheek cells, algae, etc. A compound microscope has two lenses, one of which is used to collect light from the sample slide and focus a real image of the sample and the second lens is used to further enlarge that real image for producing a vertically inverted image. The specimen is kept on a slide and covered with a coverslip.

The microscope eyepieces are chosen based on the required magnification. The most commonly used value of eyepiece magnification is 5x, 10x, 15x, and 20x. Certain microscopic designs use a CCD (charge-coupled device) instead of an eyepiece lens.

Image source: (types of microscope)Les Chatfield from Brighton, England, Fine rotative table Microscope 5 (12996283235)CC BY 2.0

Stereo microscope:

types of microscope

A stereo microscope is mainly used to observe samples at low magnification with the help of light rays that get reflected back from the specimen. These microscopes do not use transmitted rays and provide slightly different viewing angles for both eyes. This angle difference resulting from of 2 separate optical paths for the eye piece and the objective and image might formed is a 3D/Stereotypes.

Stereo microscopes do not use transmitted light and are therefore used for viewing opaque objects. These microscopes have their application in control, manufacturing, coin collecting, botany study, microsurgery, dissection, watch-making, circuit board inspection or manufacture, and forensic engineering.

Image source: (types of microscope) GcG(jawp), Optical stereo microscope nikon smz10, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

Inverted microscopes:

Inverted microscopes can be divided into two broad types:

  • the biological inverted microscope.
  • the metallurgical inverted microscope.

Metallurgical inverted microscopes are used to observe different types of mechanical parts with high magnifications. In this, the smooth surface of the specimen is directly kept on the microscope stage. These microscopes are used in the process of fractography process to detect fractures.

Biological inverted microscopes are used to examine living specimens (invitro fertilization process, cell-biological studies, cell image production, neuro science, and micro-biological studies etc.). These microscopes are capable of providing a magnification of 40 x, 100 x, and sometimes 200 x and 400 x and Unlike metallurgical microscopes, in which the sample is directly placed on the stage, biological microscopes use a Petri dish to place the sample.

Image source: (types of microscope) Zephyris at the English language Wikipedia By Richard Wheeler (Zephyris) 2007. Zeiss ID 03 Inverted microscope for tissue culture. CC BY-SA 3.0

Metallurgical microscope:

Metallurgical microscopes are designed to view objects (such as detecting micron level crack in metal and very fine layer of coating etc.) that do not allow the transmission of light. These microscopes are capable of providing a very high objective magnification such as 50x, 100x, 200x, and even 500x.

Metallurgical microscopes find their application in the automobile industries, aerospace industries, and polymer industries. Certain compound microscopes variants come with a light source fixed in the tube in a way that the light gets reflected off the sample.

Image source; (types of microscope) Jeff Keyzer from Austin, TX, USA, American Optical 569 Stereo Star Zoom MicroscopeCC BY-SA 2.0

Polarizing microscopes:

Polarizing microscopes are the microscope variants that use polarized light along with reflected and transmitted light to produce a magnified image. These microscopes are considered to be very useful for geologists, petrologists, chemists, and the pharmaceutical industry to analyze rocks, mineral samples, chemicals, and medicines. Polarising microscopes come with both polariser and analyzer. The polarizer is needed to allow only a certain set of light waves to pass through the microscope.

The analyzer is required to determine the appropriate direction and intensity of light that should be incident on the specimen. The polarizer then directs different light wavelengths on the same plane. This is why such are specially used to observe birefringent materials.

Image source: (types of microscope) United States Geological SurveyLeica DMRX, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

What are simple microscopes?

Simple microscopes are the least complicated type of microscope in this angular magnification characteristics has been utilized for obtaining an erect magnified image. Common example are loupe, magnifying glass, and eyepieces for telescopes and microscopes, generally use a single lens or a set of lenses.

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Sanchari Chakraborty

I am an eager learner, currently invested in the field of Applied Optics and Photonics. I am also an active member of SPIE (International society for optics and photonics) and OSI(Optical Society of India). My articles are aimed towards bringing quality science research topics to light in a simple yet informative way. Science has been evolving since time immemorial. So, I try my bit to tap into the evolution and present it to the readers. Let's connect through https://www.linkedin.com/in/sanchari-chakraborty-7b33b416a/

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