Simple and compound microscopes are used to observe microscopic objects. Simple microscopes are more commonly used than compound microscopes. The latter are more specialized and can provide better magnification. In this article, we will compare both types of microscopes in terms of properties and capabilities. 

We will use various examples to show how these instruments can be applied in different fields such as biology, photography and education. At the end of this article, you will understand what each scope can do and how it can help in research projects. 

Simple Microscopes

What Is a Simple Microscope?

The inventor of the first microscope was Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723). He made the microscope from a single lens. The basic design of the simple microscope, however, has not changed much in 300 years. Sophisticated techniques and materials have been used and added in their manufacture to enhance the magnification attribute. 

Simple microscopes have a single lens and are often handheld for easy maneuvering of objects to be observed. The lens of a simple microscope can be manufactured from glass or plastic. These instruments usually have a magnifying power of up to 50 times and cannot be used for long distances. They become blurred and dark when used for far-off places. The eyepiece is connected to the lens and can either slide or rotate left or right. Its positioning changes depending on which part of the object you are watching. Single-lensed simple microscopes are also referred to as “conventional” or “classical” microscopes. 

This is the simplest way to use a microscope. Probably it’s how you picture a microscope in your head. However, when using a simple microscope, we may notice that some lines are thicker than others. 

Since the simple microscope only has a singular lens, such differences are easy to find. However, you can also use it to get a closer look at algae, fungi and soil particles.

Properties of a Simple Microscope

In comparison with compound microscopes, simple microscopes are more affordable and compact. Therefore, it is very convenient for rapid and straightforward observation of objects. In some ways, it works similarly to binoculars. 

A simple microscope’s use extends to different fields such as research, biology, medicine and others. Its magnification is also powerful than what a compound microscope can provide. 

Capabilities of a Simple Microscope

The simple microscope can magnify up to 400x, which is still sufficient for most applications. It is portable and handheld which renders easy transit options. Its low price makes it a suitable piece of equipment to have in the lab or at home. 

Simple microscopes are an optimum choice for many applications because they offer better capabilities than compound microscopes. In addition, they are suitable for preliminary observations such as viewing slides, samples, bloodstains, and microorganisms. 
Simple microscopes have a disadvantage as well. The field of view of a simple microscope is narrower compared to that of the compound microscope. 

Working Of A Simple Microscope 

The resolution of a simple microscope is comparable to that of a compound microscope. The difference between the two lies in the optical system of each microscope. A single lens is used for the simple microscope, which is placed at the instrument’s base. This lens magnifies the object placed in front of it. It’s also responsible for reducing the brightness of the light, which increases image clarity. Light travels through a glass slide, then onto a variety of samples. The eyepiece lens captures the light within its focal plane. An observer then views the transmitted image. 

Components of a Simple Microscope

Different components make a microscope operational. The main parts of a simple microscope are the objective lens, eyepiece, stand and nosepiece. It is divided into optical and mechanical components.

Optical Components

The objective lens is used to magnify the image of the stage or object.  The magnification power separates how much light enters from the lens, passes through the eyepiece, and is eventually projected onto an image plane.

Mechanical Components

The eyepiece is a device that is used to provide a closer view of an observed object. It is a system that holds the ocular lens and forms the connection between the objective lens and the observer’s eye. The size of the image will be either magnified or reduced depending on its focal length.

The stand of a simple microscope consists of support, sliding platform and clamping system. The platform of the stand can move up and down. The platform is used to position slides underneath the objective lens for observation. 

The nosepiece is a system that holds and controls the position of the ocular lens and eyepiece. It functions as the connection between the objective lens and the ocular lens/eyepiece. In addition, it is used to adjust focus and magnification. 

Use Of Simple Microscope 

Simple microscopes provide benefits and advantages in various fields. They are handy to those who need to see things with a magnified view, such as technicians, medical practitioners, students, and researchers.

These microscopes are used in semiconductor inspection, medical devices, microelectronics and solar cell devices. This type of microscope is important for the quick examination of products that can be used for further analysis or testing. It is also important for the test and inspection of various materials, such as ceramics and glasses.

Simple microscopes are used in labs, electronics and education. It is beneficial, especially to students who have to examine their subjects for their homework or those medical practitioners who do not want to spend a lot of money buying a compound microscope for their clinic. 

It’s also used in other fields such as photography, surveying, minerals identification, and paleontology.

Compound Microscopes

What Is a Compound Microscope?

The compound microscope is a type of microscope that can focus and magnify the image of any object. Its magnifying capability makes it easier to identify details of both small and large objects. It has a lens for image convergence and another lens for magnifying the focused image. Both lenses work together. 

A compound microscope has two types of lenses attached to one housing with a magnification circuit. The lower lens is SLR (Single Lens Reflex). It focuses the image on the eyepiece, while the upper lens is DLSR (Digital Single Lens Reflex). It magnifies and projects an image from the eyepiece onto a film or a screen.

Compound microscopes are used in many fields and for many different purposes. These include medicine, research, science classes in universities, high schools, and forensics. 

Properties of a Compound Microscope

The compound microscope is much lighter and more compact compared to a simple microscope. As a result, it is typically more expensive than a simple microscope, but it offers multiple magnifications of clearly visible objects. 

Compound microscopes can magnify up to 40 times. Its high magnification power makes it possible to see fine details within the image. It also allows the user to visualize invisible flaws and defects. It makes a very popular choice for those who are in the field of education and research. 

The two main types of magnification used in compound microscopes are linear and digital. Examples of linear magnification include objectives with a single lens element, such as the objective lens in a simple microscope. Digital magnification usually refers to objective lenses that have multiple lenses in front of one another.

Components of a Compound Microscope

Different components make a microscope operational. The main components of a compound microscope are the objectives, eyepieces, z-axis drive, rotating nosepiece and all other parts.

Optical Components

The compound microscope’s optical system has two lenses in the objective and eyepiece group, which focuses light onto an image plane. The magnification power corresponds to how much light enters from the lens, passes through the eyepiece, and travels to the image plane.

The objective lens is used to magnify the image of the stage or object. It magnifies and resolves a larger image into an image that is small enough for the observer to see clearly. The magnification depends on the focal length of the objective lens.

Mechanical Components

The eyepiece is a device that is used to provide a closer view of an observed object. It is a system that holds the ocular lens and forms the connection between the objective lens and the observer’s eye. It can either magnify or reduce the size of an object, depending on its focal length.

The condenser is a device that focuses and adjusts the light. It changes the angle of light rays that come out of the mounted slide. The light beam is directed to a sample through a clear aperture or nosepiece, then onto an objective lens.

The z-axis drive is used to keep the stage and objective in proper alignment within the microscope body. The z-axis drive is another name for the stage computer.

Nosepiece is a device that holds and controls the position of the ocular lens and eyepiece. It is a connection between the objective lens and the ocular lens/eyepiece. It is used to adjust focus and magnification.

The body is an assembled piece of the microscope and comprises a base, column, and mechanical components. 

The revolving turret is used to rotate the objective lens or eyepiece. The turret usually makes every rotation less than one second to help achieve a clear image between the stage and the objective lens or eyepiece.

The rack stop is the device used to fix the distance between the objective and stage in a microscope. 

Use of Compound Microscopes

Compound microscopes are used in various fields and applications, such as medical laboratories, research labs and biology. 

It is also used to detect flaws in goods and products, such as cars and airplane parts.

It is also used for a wide range of other purposes, including the inspection of materials like stamps and coins to microelectronics.

Compound microscopes are used around the world. For example, compound microscopes are used in the medical industry to examine a specific disease. In contrast, it is also used for forensic use.

These microscopes are also used for other applications such as photography, surveying, minerals identification, and paleontology. 

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In conclusion, the compound microscope has many uses as well as simple microscopes. However, the applications may somewhat differ, which is why it’s important to understand both types of microscopes. Compound microscopes are used for better magnification of objects compared to simple microscopes. However, the simple microscope is much cheaper.  The use of these microscopes also varies according to the industry, such as medical and engineering. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are compound microscopes used on nature walks?

They are used for nature walks on many occasions, such as to inspect flowers, insects, insects and other things that could harm the environment. 

Are compound microscopes of high quality?

They are of high quality as they are tested and made by experienced experts in the field. Furthermore, they are made by high-tech companies who are specialized in making this equipment. 

What type of microscope is used in schools?

Both compound and simple microscopes are used in educational institutions to instruct students and research projects.

Therefore, this is important to understand compound microscopes before buying one. How to choose a microscope?

Compound microscopes are used in different industries. So, it’s important to choose one according to the industry that you’re in. For example, if you’re a teacher, the simple microscope is a better choice for you. On the other hand, if you’re an engineer, use a high-resolution compound microscope. 

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