Q: What is a compound microscope?
A: A compound microscope is an optical device that has a compound lens system, combining an objective lens and ocular eyepiece to achieve much higher magnification than other microscope varieties. The objective lens has a short focal length, higher magnifications and requires close placement to the object, whilst the eyepiece offers a longer focal length and lower magnifications which can further project a detailed image of the sample or specimin into the retina of the eye.
Q: What are compound microscopes used for?
A: Compound microscopes are used to produce detailed images of specimins at higher level of magnifcations than can be seem with the naked eye. They are commonly used in school science classrooms, laboratories and medical facilities for analysing translucent or thin samples such as plant tissues, cells and parasites.
Q: Top tips for using a compound microscope
- Use immersion oil - Specimens are viewed after mounting on microscope slides. If you are using objective lenses that are x100 magnification or higher we recommend using immersion oil to concentrate light and increase the resolution of the sample.
- Using a mechanical stage - Microscopes with a mechanical stage are often used to analyse specimens at higher magnifications as the dial can be rotated fractionally compared to manual repositioning with your fingers.
- Try staining - Staining translucent samples can be particularly useful and can enhance the overall contrast to improve the user's viewing experience.