Medical Microscopes

Written by Patricia Skinner
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Medical microscopes are also sometimes called clinical or research microscopes, or even biological microscopes. These categories are further divided into four classifications: dissection, compound, scanning electron microscope (SEM), and transmission electron microscope (TEM).

A dissection microscope gives a two-dimensional image and is illuminated. A compound microscope is also illuminated and gives a three-dimensional image. An SEM uses electron illumination for viewing specimens. Giving a three-dimensional image, it is high resolution and very high magnification. When using an SEM, the specimen is coated with gold so that the electrons bounce off, giving a view of the exterior of the specimen. Pictures from an SEM are in black and white.

Light Beams and Electrons

The other type of medical microscopes, a TEM, also uses electron illumination, but only gives a two-dimensional image of the specimen. Using slices of a specimen, electron beams are passed right through them, giving a two-dimensional view.

To operate a medical microscope properly, certain procedures should be followed. These may vary from one type of microscope to another. However, to begin with, all medical microscopes should be plugged in, turned on, and set to their lowest resolution. This is the point from which to begin. You should use the course adjustment to bring your specimen into focus, and then use the fine adjustment to get the level of detail you require.


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