A microscope is a device that uses an optical system with lenses to magnify small objects and images by a significant factor. There are two leading microscopes: photomicroscopes, which use visible light, and electron microscopes, which use electrons in an electromagnetic field. The main components are the objective lens, ocular lens (or eyepiece), specimen stage or stage platform with retractable slide or cuvette holder, or coverslips/cover glass slides for larger-format scanning segmented lenses. The objective lens is at the front of the microscope and is linked to a mechanism that controls focusing, commonly a rack-and-pinion drive. Collectively, the lenses are known as the optical system of the microscope.

Mechanical Parts of a Microscope


Formally known as the ocular lens, it magnifies the image of the specimen. It is mounted in a unique holder called a cell that prevents light from entering directly into the microscope body. The most common type of oculars is Abbe condenser oculars, which are combined with phase contrast, interference contrast, and darkfield microscopy.

Siedentopf Head

This is the primary focusing device. It is also known as the phase-contrast condenser due to its use in phase-contrast microscopy. The Siedentopf head uses a series of four or six curved blades, which are rotated to focus in much the same way a camera lens focuses. This head contains a pair of lenses and a diaphragm to control illumination.

Carrying Handle

This is where one can carry the microscope. The handle has different types like knurled handle, hinged handle, etc. The hinged handle provides convenience for the microscope to be carried with ease. Knurled handles provide an excellent grip to the user as it has knobs all over its surface. The carrying handle is present on large compound microscopes. This is used to carry the microscope from one location to another.

Coarse Focus

The coarse focus is usually found on the back of the microscope. It is used to adjust the magnification. It is used to move the stage, and fine focus allows one to focus on smaller objects that can be moved rapidly (following a lever known as a coarse rack). The coarse rack and fine rack are part of the focusing mechanism.

Fine Focus

The fine focus can also be referred to as slide lock or autofocus without optics. The Slide Lock is an incremental adjustment knob, which is used to focus on relatively thick samples. The fine adjustment mechanism is found on the eyepiece and allows one to focus on thinner objects. The autofocus mechanism and slide lock mechanisms of a microscope work together to give the best results.


The microscope stage refers to the flat platform that can move up and down and tilt around to allow for viewing objects from different angles. It has two main components: coarse motion control and fine motion control. The coarse control allows movement from side to side, while the fine control allows motions from top to bottom and left to right. The stage platform is a flat or curved slide that can be retracted by a knob whenever it is not in use. It is used to hold a thin transparent specimen. The stage platform allows the user to slide samples in and out of view. The stage platform is moved up and down by a shaft-driven mechanism known as a stage drive.

Rheostat Light Intensity Control

A variable resistor is used to control the light intensity. This is an adjustable knob, which is found on the substage of the microscope. The rheostat acts as a dimmer switch in a house which allows changing the brightness of the lighting source. It is one of the components that are used in the light adapter of a microscope.

Optical Displays

It refers to the visual representation of optical properties. Some features are the screen, camera, monitor, etc. It is one of the components of a microscope.
Different forms like video cameras and camera lenses detect light and pass them on to a display system that can either be a monitor or digital recorder. The monitor used in the optical display block is generally referred to as an optical monitor since it does not record information. It shows information about the specimen that is displayed through it. An optical system like a video camera records this information through various components into an image resolution device (like a computer or television).


Four main types of illuminators are used in the microscope: incandescent, halogen, xenon arc lamp, and laser. The incandescent illuminator has a filament inside an optical lens with a circle-shaped glass tube heated by an electrical current. It is used to illuminate the specimen. It is used along with a camera lens to provide illumination for viewing specimens under low-light conditions. The sources of light used in the microscope that helps us to see the view and helps us to focus on the sample. The illumination sources are incandescent, halogen, xenon arc lamp, and laser.


This is an essential component of the microscope. It is used to connect the light source and microscope with power supply and data transfer. Some standard adapters are used in the microscope, which are battery adapter, AC adapter, DC adapter, etc.

Focusing Mechanism

It is used to focus on the specimen. There are four main types of focusing mechanisms in the microscope: coarse focus, fine focus, slide lock, and autofocus without optics. The coarse focus is usually found on the back of the microscope and can be moved relatively rapidly (following a lever known as a coarse rack). The fine focus is another form of focusing mechanism found on the eyepiece and allows one to focus on thinner objects.


It is used to condense or remove the light from the specimen. It will help in scientific studies. The main components of the condenser are the lens, aperture stop, pinhole diaphragm, and iris diaphragm.

Mechanical Stage:

It is used to move the specimen to different locations. The purpose of the stage is to move samples in and out of view. The stage can be moved up and down by a shaft-driven mechanism known as a stage drive. This is an essential component.

Slide Holder

It is used to hold a slide in a microscope. It is a platform with a hole for holding the slide. All slides have pins around the edge that fit into these holes.

Objective Lens

It is used to provide a magnified view of a specimen. It brings light from an object into focus on the slide. The components of the objective lens are the front lens, back lens, and ocular lens.

Revolving Nosepiece

It is used to rotate objective lenses from one specimen to another. A lever can rotate the nosepiece of a microscope on the stage of the microscope.

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An objective lens can be highly magnifying, a reverse-image lens, a simple objective lens, or a ball lens. The objective is the part of the microscope that converts light into an image. This light is then focused onto a surface known as the specimen. The image will be inverted, so objects closer to the plane appear larger and objects farther from the plane appear smaller. The process also creates focal points from which all other specimens’ points are mapped to produce an image with zero distortion.

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