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Compound Microscope

The following lists the parts of a typical laboratory-grade compound (optical) microscope.

"Bargain" microscopes may be missing the parts marked **.

Starting at the top:

(1) The Eyepiece Lens that you look into.

(2) The eyepiece Tube.

(3) The eyepiece Rotating Head **.

(4) The objective Revolving Turret** or Revolving Nosepiece**.

(5) Objective Lens (may be more than one)

(6) Stage.

(7) Stage Clips.

(8) Stage Condenser Lens**.

(9) Stage Light Diaphragm**.

(10) Light Source (may be simply a mirror).

Structural pieces:

(11) Support Arm.

(12) Base.

Focus mechanism: This consists of

(13) a moveable Rack driven by

(14) a focusing Gear operated by two knobs for

(15) Coarse Focus and

(16) Fine Focus. There may be a focus mechanism for the optical tube, for the specimen stage, or for both.


Eyepiece Lens: the lens at the top that you look through. They are usually 10X or 15X power.

Tube: Connects the eyepiece to the objective lenses

Arm: Supports the tube and connects it to the base

Base: The bottom of the microscope, used for support

Illuminator: A steady light source (110 volts) used in place of a mirror. If your microscope has a mirror, it is used to reflect light from an external light source up through the bottom of the stage.

Stage: The flat platform where you place your slides. Stage clips hold the slides in place. If your microscope has a mechanical stage, you will be able to move the slide around by turning two knobs. One moves it left and right, the other moves it up and down.

Revolving Nosepiece or Turret: This is the part that holds two or more objective lenses and can be rotated to easily change power.

Objective Lenses: Usually you will find 3 or 4 objective lenses on a microscope. They almost always consist of 4X, 10X, 40X and 100X powers. When coupled with a 10X (most common) eyepiece lens, we get total magnifications of 40X (4X times 10X), 100X , 400X and 1000X. To have good resolution at 1000X, you will need a relatively sophisticated microscope with an Abbe condenser. The shortest lens is the lowest power, the longest one is the lens with the greatest power. Lenses are color coded and if built to DIN standards are interchangeable between microscopes. The high power objective lenses are retractable (i.e. 40XR). This means that if they hit a slide, the end of the lens will push in (spring loaded) thereby protecting the lens and the slide. All quality microscopes have achromatic, parcentered, parfocal lenses.

Rack Stop: This is an adjustment that determines how close the objective lens can get to the slide. It is set at the factory and keeps students from cranking the high power objective lens down into the slide and breaking things. You would only need to adjust this if you were using very thin slides and you weren't able to focus on the specimen at high power. (Tip: If you are using thin slides and can't focus, rather than adjust the rack stop, place a clear glass slide under the original slide to raise it a bit higher)

Condenser Lens: The purpose of the condenser lens is to focus the light onto the specimen. Condenser lenses are most useful at the highest powers (400X and above). Microscopes with in stage condenser lenses render a sharper image than those with no lens (at 400X). If your microscope has a maximum power of 400X, you will get the maximum benefit by using a condenser lenses rated at 0.65 NA or greater. 0.65 NA condenser lenses may be mounted in the stage and work quite well. A big advantage to a stage mounted lens is that there is one less focusing item to deal with. If you go to 1000X then you should have a focusable condenser lens with an N.A. of 1.25 or greater. Most 1000X microscopes use 1.25 Abbe condenser lens systems. The Abbe condenser lens can be moved up and down. It is set very close to the slide at 1000X and moved further away at the lower powers.

Diaphragm or Iris: Many microscopes have a rotating disk under the stage. This diaphragm has different sized holes and is used to vary the intensity and size of the cone of light that is projected upward into the slide. There is no set rule regarding which setting to use for a particular power. Rather, the setting is a function of the transparency of the specimen, the degree of contrast you desire and the particular objective lens in use.

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โˆ™ 2010-01-07 12:21:26
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Q: What are the parts of a Compound Microscope?
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