The invention history of the microscope dates back to the 16th century. Precisely at that time, the first microscope was built, which at that time consisted of a set of lenses that allowed the magnified image of an object to be seen.
But progress never stops and at this time there is a wide variety of microscopes for different applications. The difference between them consists not only in their destination but also in the principles of operation. In this article, we will try to systematize our knowledge about modern microscopes.
CLASSIFICATION OF MICROSCOPES
To begin with, let’s make a general classification of microscopes based on their resolution. The resolution of a microscope is its ability to visualize a sharp image of two points of an object, located close together. This characteristic mostly depends on the wavelength used by the device (visible spectrum, ultraviolet, X-rays).
- optical (light);
- scan probe
Bearing in mind that the light microscope has a special place in this magazine, we will save it “for dessert.”
Electron microscope is a super powerful device that, unlike an optical microscope, uses a beam of electrons instead of luminous flux. This type of microscope is much more powerful than conventional light microscopes – its resolution is 1000-10000 times higher.
We can divide electron microscopes into two subgroups:
Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) – in this type of apparatus scanning is carried out with the help of a beam of electrons focused under industrial vacuum conditions;
Transmission electron microscopes – used to inspect extra-fine samples. The image is obtained from the electrons passing through the sample.
These equipment are very complex and expensive, for this reason, they are generally used in scientific laboratories or in large factories that have the need and can afford to purchase them.
X-ray microscope is a device designed to investigate very small objects, whose size is compatible with the length of X-rays. The operation of this equipment is based on the use of X-rays with a wavelength of 0.01 to 10 nanometers. The resolving power of an X-ray microscope is intermediate between electronic and optical microscopes.
We can divide X-ray microscopes into the following subgroups:
- of reflection.
Projection microscopes are the most common Mighty Scopes. They allow to evaluate the quality of thin coatings and to take micro-radiographs of biological and botanical sections up to 200 µm. One of the advantages of X-ray microscopes is the possibility of observing unprepared living cells with their help.
Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPM)
A scanning probe microscope is also not suitable for home use. They are devices that use a special probe that scans the surface and creates a high-resolution 3D image (less than 0.1 nm). Today, scanning probe microscopes are used in all fields of science: physics, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, materials science, photochemistry, and more.
The Optical (light) microscope is the “oldest” and best-known device of all microscopes. However, it should not be thought that its construction and its possibilities have not undergone changes. A standard optical microscope is made up of the optical system (objective, eyepiece, and light source) and the mechanical system (stand, arm, etc.). The operation of these microscopes is based on the laws of classical optics.
Nowadays, a digital microscope is no longer a luxury device, affordable only for scientific and industrial centers, but an everyday thing in any school or workshop. Even more, there are already methodologies for their use in biology classes and in the near future “school” digital microscopes will appear whose prices will be comparable to those of cheaper optical microscopes.
Areas of use of digital microscopes:
- Quality control of products in factories
- Tests and investigations
- PCB Board Status Check
- Electronic equipment repair
- Teaching and instruction (natural sciences, biology, chemistry)
- Hobby and hobby (assembling tiny parts and components)
- Collectors clubs (coins, jewelry, stamps, etc.)
- Tissue research
- Medicine (review of the condition of skin, teeth, etc.)
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