A microscope as we all are aware is used for getting a very close view of micro organisms or anything that cannot be seen through the naked human eye. It is an instrument or we can say even a weapon used by microbiologists, clinical researchers, scientists etc. It was a land mark invention for the human race by a Dutch scientist Antonie Philips Van Leeuwenhoek that changed the history of mankind with its beneficial uses. In today’s times a microscope is a necessity in every kind of laboratory.
There are various types of microscopes based on their uses, cost, area of application and versatility. Different types of microscopes have different uses depending upon the area of research. There are microscopes used in class rooms to teach students, microscopes in various types of laboratories, microscopes that are used for high level research, and also some people use it for their personal hobby.
Different Kinds of Microscopes and their Uses
Light Microscope: It is the simplest type of microscope and is also known as optical microscope. In this microscope light is reflected through optical lenses and it uses visible light to make an image. The magnification power of eyepieces of light microscope to magnify any specimen can be about 1500x. It is used in many areas of science such as biology, anatomy, and physiology.
There are two categories of light or optical microscopes. These are:
Simple Microscope: The simple microscope uses only a single convex lens that is very commonly used in loupe.
Compound Microscope: In a compound microscope, unlike the simple microscope there are two lenses; the ocular lens and the objective lens. The ocular lens is used in the eyepiece and this lens is closest to the eye. Its magnification power is 10x. The objective lens is closest to the object that needs to be magnified and the lenses are near the stage on revolving nose piece. These are used widely in school and college lab and are heavier and larger than simple microscopes. Some important types of compound microscopes are;
- Standard Compound Light Microscope: In this microscope there is more than one lens and it has its own light source by which it transmits the image to the eye. The magnification of this microscope depends upon the objective lenses fitted on the revolving nose piece. It can be 4x, 10x, 40x, or 100x.
- Inverted Microscope: Liquid cell culture is easily viewed by this microscope. It is also used for viewing thick or large samples clearly. This microscope is an upside down microscope with its light source and condenser on the top.
- UV Microscope: With the help of UV microscopes we can see more than the standard optical microscope. Special UV optics, light source and cameras are used in this microscope.
- Metallurgical Microscope: This microscope is used to observe metal, plastic, ceramic as well as other materials. Metallurgical Microscopes are mainly used by electronic parts manufacturers, forensic laboratories, and metal foundries.
- Stereo Microscope: This microscope is also known as stereoscopic or dissecting microscope and produces a three dimensional visualization of the specimen being examined. It has two eyepieces and is designed for low magnification of the specimens and use light reflected from the surface of an object rather than transmitted through it.
- Digital Microscope: A digital microscope is a variation of the traditional microscope but equipped with advanced techniques. It has a tiny digital camera and is attached to a monitor. With the help of this microscope the results can be shown on the computer and the images can be saved on the hard disk. Digital microscopes are used widely in industry and research programs. Magnification power of this microscope is 0.5 x to 500x.
Electron Microscopes: The wave length of high energy electron is very small and precisely for this reason modern electron microscopes are used which can enlarge and object upto 2 million times. Electronic microscopes use a beam of electron that hits any object that comes to its path to enlarge it. It is very useful in studying tiny particles like cells as well as large objects. The different types of elecrtron microscopes are:
- Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)
- Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
- Reflection Electron Microscope (REM)
There are also X-Ray Microscopes, Dark-Field Microscope, Pocket Microscope, and Acoustic Microscope. However, the above mentioned microscopes are largely used.
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