How does a microscope work?

Home » How does a microscope work?
How does a microscope work?

How does a microscope work?

This article will show you the parts and how a microscope works. With this simple equipment, you can appreciate the tiniest particles as if you have never seen them before.

What are the parts of an optical microscope?

The operation of a microscope seems like a work of engineering, and it requires multiple elements that we will show you below:

  • Eye. This is an essential part of the apparatus. It is used so that you can see what is under the slide. It is always located at the top of a tube and can have different magnifications, depending on how much you want to amplify the size of what you are studying. There are models with different configurations. In the entry range, you can find alternatives with a single eyepiece, while the most advanced options have two.
  • Objectives. Along with the eyepiece, these pieces make up the entire optics. Its magnification is superior, reaching 100x. You can find up to four different objectives with different magnifications in each microscope.
  • Revolver. It is responsible for keeping the different targets in position. This piece rotates so you can easily change magnifications.
  • Focus dials. With these roulettes, you can adjust the focus of the device. In each microscope, there are two, one used to approach the vision and another, called fine adjustment, to obtain perfect details.
  • Platinum. This piece forms a base on which you can rest the slides. It has clamps to prevent them from moving and a hole in its central part that allows light to pass through.
  • Lamp. It is the light source. It is located at the bottom and has a light bulb.
  • Condenser _ It is one or more lenses that concentrate the light from the lamp. It is located under the platen and next to the diaphragm. Thanks to this effect, you can see high-magnification images more clearly. The maximum capacity of the condenser will largely dictate the ability to magnify an image through the microscope.
  • Diaphragm. It is located under the stage and controls the amount of light reaching the slide. It is entirely adjustable to adapt to your needs.

How does a microscope work?

The optical models have a straightforward operation. These laboratory tools will allow you to see from tiny bacteria to insects or small pieces.

the lenses

All the lenses in a microscope work together. To achieve a clear image, both the eyepieces and the objectives must be compatible with the device’s maximum capacity. They work on the same principle as reflex cameras or prescription glasses lenses.

In the first place, when the light rays converge at a certain point, the objectives are responsible for making an amplification of the sample. The eyepieces subsequently enlarge that image again to give it a larger size. Therefore, combining all the lenses creates a much larger image of the sample in the microscope.

The lighting

This is the other fundamental aspect without which you would be unable to observe any object under the microscope. Enlarging an image reduces the amount of light. Therefore, all-optical models have a lamp and a condenser. Depending on their technology, you can find models with LED lights or older technologies, such as incandescent bulbs, on the market. When light passes through the slide, the lenses are responsible for shaping the image you will see.

Accessories of an optical microscope

You may have to use some accessories to get an operation adapted to your needs.

light filters

Sometimes the light that reaches the sample does not meet the requirements of your work. For these cases, there are various filters on the market that adapt the lighting and manage to highlight some aspects of the image. The most common are the following:

  • Polarized filters. The most sensitive samples to possible reflections or excess light require these filters for their correct visualization. By polarizing the light, refraction is eliminated, and the lumens are slightly reduced.
  • Color filters. The contrast may be affected depending on the tone of the sample you are reviewing. To solve this problem, filters of different colors are used. Without the need for you to make any changes to the apparatus, you will be able to create a higher level of contrast on the slide. You can also apply a tint directly onto the swatch for more customization options.


Light microscopes can be made digital with the addition of a simple camera. You will only have to remove one of the eyepieces to place it. This device can record videos or take different photographs of the samples you are analyzing. Above all, they are instrumental when capturing the movement of cells or bacteria.

There are variants on the market with sensors of various sizes and different megapixels. To capture quality videos, two megapixels will be enough. If you want to photograph samples, we recommend you choose models with more features.

Buying a  second-hand microscope will allow you to save money and, in addition, you will help the environment. In the production of these scientific instruments, CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere, which increases their carbon footprint. However, with the circular economy, you will reduce its impact, and you will be able to enjoy high-quality and fully functional devices. Remember that our technicians review all Cash Converters products. In addition, we send them to your home for free, and if you need them, we offer you financing tailored to your needs.

Now you know how a microscope works. Do you want to see your first samples? Science is essential for the development of the mind. With a quality tool, you will be able to discover many things that, until now, you were not able to contemplate.


Leave Your Comment