Why Is the Compound Light Microscope an Important Tool?

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For any researcher on microorganisms or for any knowledge seekers venturing to experience the world of tiny organisms hidden behind our naked eyes, a compound light microscope is truly invaluable equipment. Compound light microscopes make up the majority of microscopes used across the world in laboratories, research facilities, pathological units and healthcare facilities. Irrespective of the different capacities and roles they fit in, they are common in the essential aspect of offering magnified images of microscopic things in simplest possible way. But before coming to the wide range of benefits we get from them let us know a few basic things concerning their function, the way they work and the technologies they incorporate.

These microscopes are called compound because they have more than one lens for magnifying the image of the specimen. Moreover, they are also the type of microscope that has in-built source of light. Typically in a compound light microscope (www.ehow.com/list_6009143_features-compound-light-microscope.html) the lenses are fixed at two positions and accordingly they are referred. While the ocular lens is fixed in the binocular eyepiece for delivering the final magnified image the objective lens is fixed in the rotating nosepiece very close to the specimen slide. Because of having in-built light source these microscopes are also called bright field microscopes. From the illumination caused by the in-built source of light the specimen by absorbing light offers a clean contrast and that is how a magnified clean view becomes possible.

Obviously, the development and improvement of microscopes have gone through a long way through various ages and stages of scientific progress. From the very basic magnifying capacity to advanced level microscopes of today with 1,000 to 2,000X magnifying capacity, it took a long way to make this huge progress in seeing tiny things bigger.

Magnification capacity

To measure and adjust the magnification required in viewing a specimen through a compound light microscope you need to consider objective lens power which is expressed as 4x, 10x or 40x and then multiply this with the magnifying capacity of the eyepiece lens which in most cases remains at 10x. Thus with a 10X eyepiece coupled up with a 40X objective lens the magnification capacity of the lens would be 400X which means the specimen will be viewed 400 times larger than their original size and dimension. Moreover, higher magnification capacity will also ensure better contrast and clarity in the image captured by the microscope.

Resolution capacity

Resolution refers to the color dots that make an image. Higher the resolution in a captured image, better the clarity, contrast and viewing aspects of that image. After magnification capacity resolution is the single most important aspect for producing a clear, sharp and high contrast image of the specimen studied under this research microscope.

Distance from the specimen

When increasing magnifying power maintaining the right distance from the specimen is crucial for not only quality imaging output but also for preventing damage to the specimen. You cannot prevent damage to the studied specimen if the viewer cannot become aware of the distance required for increasing the magnification.

What types of specimen can be viewed with a compound light microscope?

A whole array of extremely tiny microorganisms, plant and living cells can be viewed with compound light microscope. Obviously, viewing different groups or categories of specimen requires using different slides.

•  With stained prepared slides you can see magnified view of smears, blood, tissues, bacteria, chromosomes, organelles, protist or metazoans, etc.

•  With unstained wet mount slides you can see detailed magnified images of pond water, living protists or metazoans, and various plant cells such as algae.

Compound light microscope user benefits

Simplicity, ease of use, convenience of studying variety of objects and affordability are the prime benefits of compound light microscopes. Because of the smaller size and dimension, this type of microscopes is handy and portable as well and perfectly suits all types of institutions and individual purposes. Having its own source of light and an array of lenses this type of microscopes can deliver clear microscopic details in magnified specimens. It offers the simplest, reliable and inexpensive way of viewing magnified images of small microscopic objects around you.

There is a wide array of compound light microscopes with varying level of magnifying capacity and technical excellence. Though, all the microscopes having compound light technology are based on similar technology at the basic level. Some of the other aspects that one needs to consider when buying a quality compound light microscope include the following.

•  Better stability, consistency and resilience

•  Easy availability of components and spare parts

•  Better service and manufacturer support for the microscope equipment

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