Optical Microscopy


The Centre houses a number of light microscopes (transmission, reflection) equipped with heating and deformation stages.

The Centre can provide access to a number of conventional light microscopes, which complement our other instruments. Basically two types of light microscope exist: compound microscopes and stereomicroscopes.

Compound microscopes use transmitted light to illuminate a very thin specimen (typically less than about 25 µm thick) mounted on a glass microscope slide. Light passes through the specimen and is collected by a single objective lens. Compound microscopes are capable of resolving details as close as 0.2 µm, allowing useful magnification up to 1, 000 times. These microscopes operate with a very small working distance (several millimetres, or less) and small depth of field.

Stereomicroscopes are used to examine larger objects than can be placed on the stage of an objective microscope. This is possible due to the larger working distance (typically 10-20 cm). They are often referred to as dissecting microscopes, as this is one of their main uses in biological science. The specimen is usually illuminated with incident light (the image is formed by light reflected by the specimen). Stereomicroscopes use two objective lenses to produce two slightly different views of the same specimen, one view for each eye. This results in an apparently three-dimensional image which, in addition to these microscope's greater depth of field, allows for easy specimen handling. Magnification is usually limited to less than 100 times due to the lesser resolving power of stereomicroscopes.

Things to do now

Page navigation


Search Form

A-Z lists