Light Microscopes

Written by Patricia Skinner
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To most areas of microscopy today, illumination is a critical factor. That's why for every type of microscopy, some form of illumination is used, whether it's from one of the many types of microscope lamps, or by the use of electron illumination. Here we are concerned only with light microscopes.

Light microscopes are by far the most common type in the world of microscopy. Employing the simple concept of reflected light, light microscopes are used every day in a wide variety of applications for the inspection of small objects or specimens. Light microscopes are the modern relatives of the original microscope that was invented back in the 15th century.

Lenses and Condenser

Light microscopes, in addition to some form of illumination, always have a condenser to concentrate the reflection of the light onto the specimen. The also have a fixed eyepiece and often interchangeable objectives. Light microscopes can have anything from one to three objectives (where the lower lenses are) to give optimum specimen viewing power.

This type of light microscope is also referred to a bright field microscope. It has many applications and is the most versatile type of microscope. You can find light microscopes anywhere from the laboratory to the school. They range in price from those you can but with pocket money, to those you'd have to mortgage your house for!

To get the best results from your light microscope, always remember to use a thin coverslip over your specimen as high resolution objectives cannot focus through a thick glass cover. Also remember that your light source must be bright but well-diffused for best illumination of your subject.

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