Magnifying objects that cannot be seen by the naked eye, the microscope is widely regarded a major milestone in the field of science. This instrument has revolutionized scientific and medical research and paved way for remarkable discoveries. There are a wide variety of microscopes available today, distinguished by factors such as purpose, design, and more. This article discusses microscopes and their uses in educational, medical and scientific laboratories.
Microscopes are an indispensable tool in the laboratories of educational institutions such as schools, colleges, teaching laboratories and universities. Instruments for educational use must be able to withstand the rigors of daily use. They must also be easy to use. Relatively low levels of magnification are sufficient for high school classroom use. A compound microscope with objective lens and eye piece is ideal for educational purposes as it reduces the level of aberration. They may come with varying light sources such as fluorescence, LEDs and halogen. Educational microscopes fall into three categories:
- Monocular – This type has a single body tube with one lens for the eye piece. Different kinds of monocular microscopes are used at various educational levels. Fluorescent and mechanical stage monocular instruments are suitable for high school biology labs whereas monocular models with LED and halogen illumination are ideal for college level study.
- Binocular – This has two eye pieces within the single body tube. This instrument provides better perception of depth. Both LED and halogen illumination binocular types are available.
- Dual-head – This microscope has two body tubes with an eye piece in each of them. A fluorescent, mechanical stage dual-headed microscope with LED or halogen illumination is a feasible option in high school labs and colleges.
More sophisticated microscopes are required for medical use as there is need for rigorous analysis to diagnose medical conditions accurately. Lenses feature DIN and achromatic standards to ensure that the instrument has less aberration for proper diagnosis. Achromatic (aberration to outer 40% of field of view), Semi-Plan Achromatic (aberration to outer 20% of field of view) and Plan Achromatic (100% free from aberration) may be used depending on the purpose.
Both monocular and binocular types are used by physician and veterinarian clinics, medical schools, and universities. The other major types of medical microscopes are trinocular and dual binocular. A trinocular microscope has three eye pieces within the single body tube and is used extensively in pathology and hematology labs for medical research. Dual binocular microscope is simply double headed binocular microscope. It can be used by two people at a time and is suitable for rigorous analysis.
In addition to these, there are specialized models for metallurgy, polarization and fluorescence.
Purchase of Laboratory Microscopes
It is always advisable to source your microscopes from an established lab equipment supplier. The right dealer would offer an extensive inventory of quality models from leading brands and can help you choose the right instruments to suit your specific needs.