You probably already know what a microscope is, right? Even so, do you really know how to use one? If you don’t, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the basics of microscopes, what they really are, and how to use them. Whether you’re working in a science lab or just want to use one for a hobby or project, microscopes are great pieces of technology that have helped revolutionalize industry. They’ve been around for quite a while now, but they help give a much better view of tiny things and are great for people studying chemistry, biology and more. Microscopes are even useful in engineering and other similar projects. But what exactly is a microscope, and how does one work? Let’s have a look…
What is a microscope?
A microscope is an optical device that’s great at magnifying objects so that you can see them in much more detail. It’s a lot more powerful than a simply magnifying glass, although it uses some of the same technology. There are a range of different microscopes, from domestic to industrial. Some of the more powerful microscopes can let you see some of the smallest things in the universe.
You can think of a microscope as a piece of equipment, scientific equipment. It helps all sorts of people see small things a lot more easily, or makes them bigger. As well as optical glass, most microscopes also use lights which help both magnify and illuminate the things they’re looking at. This makes it much easier to see the item in question.
Microscopes were invented over 400 years ago. Since then, they’re have played a major role in science and research, as well as some other industries and fields. Powerful microscopes can view things as tiny as an atom, and they’re also played an important role in biology and the study of human cells. Medical and technological science would not be where they are today without microscopes.
How does a microscope work?
A microscope works basically like a magnifying glass, but with more optical glass and a lot more power. Microscopes can magnify things thousands of times unlike a standard magnifying glass. They use similar principles of optical science.
How to use a microscope
Remember, a microscope is a good piece of kit. Most microscopes are high-quality and can last a long time if you look after them carefully. Using a microscope isn’t all about how to actually use it to view things, but also how to store it, clean it and make sure it stays in workable condition for as long as possible. If you look after a microscope well, it could last 30 years, even if it is a cheaper model. Some microscopes can last even longer than that.
Because of this, when you move a microscope around you need to be careful. A good microscope is normally quite heavy, so one of the biggest issues people have with them is that they drop them! Dropping a microscope could break it beyond repair. You might be used to using your microscope, but don’t get complacent. Always carry your microscope around with two hands. Hold the arm and base at once for extra security. If you use a bag to carry your microscope, make sure it is strong enough. A normal plastic bag might not be, and you also might not have the right support to stop it bumping or swinging into something.
When preparing a microscope for use, place a coverslip or what’s known as a cover glass over the specimen or thing you are trying to view. This will help protect your microscope if it touches the slide. Otherwise, it could get messy.
To do this, put the slide containing the specimen on the stage and use the stage clips or other devices to fasten it in place. Pushing down on the back end of the stage clip will normally open it if you need to.
Through the optical glass, look at the objective and stage slide while turning the knob which changes focus so that the objective glass moves towards the stage. Some microscopes will move the stage upwards instead, while some can do both. A bit of trial and error might be necessary here. Move them as close as possible without touching the slide and stage.
At this point you should look directly through the eyepiece and adjust the mirror, which is also known as the illuminator, as well as the diaphragm. THis should be done so that the most amount of light possible shines through and onto the slide. You can’t see an object that isn’t very well lit. THen start turning the adjustment knob again so that the objective glass goes away from the slide. Keep doing this until the image becomes clear and into focus. If your microscope has a fine adjustment, you can start using this when you’re generally in the right place. You can also turn the knob to move the stage for an even more accurate view if you have that ability.
You might then need to move the slide around slightly to make sure it is in the center of the view. This can be done by hand. Now you have your microscope generally in focus, you can swap different slides without having to change too much. Remember not to touch the glass parts of your microscope with your fingers This can create smudges that might seem insignificant to you, but can cause major problems when viewing things. Always keep your microscope clean and cover it when it’s not in use so that dust doesn’t get in the way. Looking after a microscope is important, both before and after use, so that you can continue to use it without any issues.