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Microscopes are used for a huge range of applications and are one of the most important pieces of equipment in the laboratory.

The word microscope comes from the ancient Greek word for ‘small’ which is mikros, and ‘to look or see’ which is skopein, and these devices have been around for many years. In simple terms, they are used to view tiny objects in more detail than is possible with just the human eye.

There are various types of microscope available in today’s market, which is why we work with the experts from one of our partners Leica to help you understand which type of microscope is right for you. We’ve created this Evolve guide to explain the different types of microscopes and what they are used for.

Compound Microscopes

Compound microscopes are most commonly used in laboratories, schools, vets, and for histology uses. They feature two lenses, providing a better magnification than a simple microscope. With this kind of equipment, the second lens further magnifies the image from the first lens. Compound microscopes light the sample from below, and samples need to be placed onto slides with a cover slip.

These microscopes are great for viewing items which are too small to see with the naked eye. They offer magnification all the way up to 1000x, but commonly come as 40x, 100x, or 400x magnification. Compound microscopes which magnify up to 1000x often have low resolution at this level, making them unsuitable for viewing tiny details. Compound microscopes are used to view a range of samples including cheek cells, blood cells, bacteria, parasites, tissue, algae, and thin sections of organs.

Stereo Microscopes

Stereo microscopes provide a stereo, or 3D, image of a sample. They are great for looking closely at samples which are large enough to hold in your hand. Most stereo microscopes provide magnification between 10x and 40x, so they are not designed for very close examination of tiny samples. They use both reflected and transmitted illumination to view samples which do not allow light to pass through.

The most common uses for stereo microscopes include coin collecting, quality control, botany, and high school dissection projects. Many people use stereo microscopes for looking in detail at items such as flowers, insects, coins, metal parts, plastic parts, circuit boards, small animals, wires, and fabric weaves.

Digital Microscopes

Digital microscopes are the latest in microscope technology and bring many benefits that aren’t available with other traditional devices. This kind of equipment uses a computer in order to take an in-depth look at tiny samples which aren’t visible to the naked eye. They are available either with or without eye pieces and connect to a monitor using a USB connection. The magnified sample is displayed on the monitor, and still images or videos can be captured and saved.

They work using a blend of both optics and a digital camera, and digital microscopes are available as either simple piece of equipment or advanced systems with many features. These kinds of microscopes are commonly used in research, medicine, education, forensics, and manufacturing. Some common uses include inspecting brake pads in vehicles, detecting counterfeit documents, converting artwork, and making intricate jewellery repairs.

Inverted Microscopes

Inverted microscopes are a valuable piece of equipment for laboratory cell analysis. Using advanced imaging techniques, inverted microscopes from Evolve allow you to observe cells for life science research through the use of fluorescence microscopy and brightfield microscopy. From routine inverted microscopes to super resolution, compound, TIRF imaging, and confocal microscopy solutions, the vast range of inverted microscopes from Evolve allow you to expand your vision, with ergonomic designs offering accurate, precise imaging solutions.

Inverted research microscopes use magnification for precise cell viewing and analysis. An inverted microscope uses a fixed stage with an objective lens for magnification that can be moved along a vertical axis to adjust the focus of a specimen or to allow the specimen to be brought closer or moved further away. Once focused, the user then observes the specimen through the inverted microscope’s ocular lens, or via a screen if using the microscope with a video camera.

Evolve makes science happen

Evolve has delivered and installed high quality microscopes of all kinds for many years, supplying various microscopes of the highest in quality and specification.

Users of Leica microscopes from Evolve can be found in both clinical and life science research, several surgical specialisations, disciplines associated with material sciences, the manufacturing industry, and forensics services as well as in schools, colleges and universities.

Evolve recently set up a Leica DMS1000 microscope at Medichem for use in their quality control laboratory at Hal Far in Malta.

William Micallef, the Quality Control Laboratory Administrator at Medichem, said: ‘Our new Leica microscope from Evolve is a superb system for digital inspection, observation and measurement.

‘We are impressed with the capabilities and Evolve’s team of experts were always on hand to advise us on the setup and use of the Leica package.’

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Evolve is your trusted science partner

At Evolve, we have specific sector knowledge and tailor scientific solutions to your requirements by selecting and adapting our service offering, which includes:

  • Facility design, laboratory supplies and lab furniture layout
  • Expertise to help you make quick and informed decisions for all your clinical, scientific or analytical needs
  • We can provide you with a comprehensive maintenance and support service
  • We offer training in a number of areas of interest to the scientific community

Our proactive, consultative approach is underpinned by the expertise of our team of dedicated professionals, ensuring that you’ll get personal support from one of our experts.

If you need to speak with someone from Evolve, please visit our Support Centre page.

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