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Microscopes are one of most popular optical instruments for the hospitals, clinics, biology Labs, and pharmaceutical companies. Microscopes are available in dozens of specifications and with a multitude of different features. How to choose a microscope that best fit your needs? This buyer's guide is intended to help our customers who need some basic information about microscopes.

Quality of Microscopes

Quality is the most important "feature" of microscopes. In many cases the brand name is a guide to quality. Companies like Celestron, Konus, LW Scientific, Meade, Parks Optical, and Western Scientific Co. have spent decades earning a reputation for high quality optical products, and they are unlikely to produce a clearly inferior product.

Simple Microscopes

A magnifying glass, an ordinary double convex lens having a short focal length, is a simple microscope. The reading lens and hand lens are instruments of this type. When an object is placed nearer such a lens than its principal focus, i.e., within its focal length, an image is produced that is erect and larger than the original object. The image is also virtual; i.e., it cannot be projected on a screen as can a real image.

Compound microscopes

Compound microscopes magnify the tiny detail and structure of plant cells, bone marrow and blood cells, single-celled creatures like amoebas, and much more. Almost every homeschool family or hobbyist will need a 400x compound microscope to study cells and tiny organisms in biology and life science.

Stereo microscopes

Stereo microscopes & dissecting microscopes are low-power microscopes designed for observing whole objects like flower pollen and rock crystals with a 3D view.

Optical microscopes

Optical microscopes, through their use of visible wavelengths of light, are the simplest and hence most widely used type of biology and geology. Optical microscopes use refractive lenses, typically of glass and occasionally of plastic, to focus light into the eye or another light detector. Typical magnification of a light microscope is up to 1500x with a theoretical resolution of around 0.2 micrometres or 200 nanometers. Specialised techniques (e.g., scanning confocal microscopy) may exceed this magnification but the resolution is an insurmountable diffraction limit.

Electron Microscopes

The electron microscope, which is not limited by the powers of optical lenses and light, permits greater magnification and greater depth of focus than the optical microscope and reveals more details of structure. Instead of light rays it employs a stream of electrons controlled by electric or magnetic fields. The image may be thrown on a fluorescent screen or may be photographed. The scanning electron microscope gains even greater resolution by reading the response of the subject material rather than the direct reflection of its beam. Using a similar approach, optical scanning microscopes achieve a resolution of 400 Angstroms, less than the wavelength of the light being used. Finally, the scanning tunnelling microscope, invented in 1982, uses not a beam but an electron wave field, which by interacting with a nearby specimen is capable of imaging individual atoms; its resolution is an astounding one Angstrom.

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