A Microscope has a prime objective to enlarge the image of microparticles. It gives a close view of our sample.
As a result, it helps us to examine and analyze our sample. It enlarges the image by using waveforms. It receives the image by direct or digital imaging. You can also use them together. You can obtain both the types of images, dynamic or static images.
The number of times the image has been enlarged is defined by the magnifying power. This unit doesn’t have any dimension. It is expressed in 10X.
Resolution measures the smallest detail of your sample. It has a linear unit i.e. micrometer.
Given below are the steps on how to use a microscope properly.
How To Use A Microscope Properly – Step By Step Guide
1. Setting the Microscope
In this step, we will learn all the basics of how to use a microscope properly. We will also learn how to set our microscope for our study.
Whenever you need to transport the microscope make sure to keep one hand on its arm and another one on its base. Remove the dust cover from a microscope. Plug in your microscope. Arrange extra cord carefully. Don’t fall over it.
A microscope measure the precise value therefore any moment can bring a noticeable change in the value. So, don’t disturb the microscope.
- Always start with the lowest power objective present in the microscope which is around 4x. This setting helps us to focus and center the sample easily. Using the lowest power objective, chances of scratching while placing or removing the slide decreases.
- Now, turn ON your microscope. Place your side on the microscope stage. Place your specimen directly on the circle of light. With the help of this step, there are 90% chances that the specimen is visible to us through the eyepiece in the first attempt. If you have monocular then close your one eye and see through the eyepiece from the other one. If you have binocular, adjust interpupillary distance, which is the distance between eyepieces). You can adjust this by sliding or rotating eyepieces. If you have diopters in your microscope then adjust them accordingly. Keep repeating the above steps until you see a circular light spot.
- People who wear glasses face some problems seeing an image through eyepiece. This step will help people with glasses to see a clear image of the specimen. Take off your glasses. If you are only able to see your eyelashes then move closer to the eyepiece. If your microscope has a high eye-power eyepiece then there is no need of taking off your glasses.
- In this step, we will learn how to bring our image under focus. Putting an exact focus on the image helps us to view the details of our sample. Turn the coarse focus knob. Now, you get a clear focus on the image. If the image is still not clear, then start turning the fine focus knob.
- Adjust the diaphragm. You will notice more details under the dim light area. This is because under bright light some of the details get wash-out and make the specimen blurry.
- Now let us learn how to increase the magnification power of our microscope. Place the specimen in the center. Don’t disturb the focus knob. Now move to higher magnification power i.e. 10X objective to 40X objective. Always center the specimen. If not, you will lose it while moving to a higher power.
- Always use the fine focus knob when the microscope is on higher magnification. It is the smallest knob present on the microscope and easily visible. It moves the slide into a much smaller distance as compared to the coarse knob. The slide is much closer to the objective lens. As a result, there are chances of producing some scratch on the slide on using a coarse knob.
- Be very careful while using a microscope at the magnification of 100 objectives. For lubrication, we use oil on these slides for the microscope. Use one drop of oil between a coverslip and an objective lens for lubrication. Keep adding more oil to cover all the air gaps. It collects lots of light from the outside. This makes the image clear and brighter.
2. Preparing A Slide
When you are learning how to use a microscope properly knowing how to prepare slide is also crucial. We will use this slide further to study under the microscope. Also called as the wet mount. Take a small and flat slice of your specimen. Make sure that your slice remains horizontally in the touch of the top of your sample.
- Add a drop of water on the specimen carefully. Don’t add too much water. If you add excessive water on specimens, it will start moving on the surface of the water. As a result, it will float in and out of our view.
- Form an angle of 45 degrees with the specimen touching the border of the water drop. Now place the coverslip on the specimen with your gentle hand. Free it slowly. Let the coverslip fall on the specimen.
Put a drop of methylene blue on one edge of the coverslip. You can use any other stain or due available. Take a piece of the filter paper. Place it on the other edge of the slide.
- Filter paper will absorb the extra flow of water from the one side. Some stain under the coverslip start showing from the other edge. Methylene is the reason of this stain. It makes a study of our sample simpler.
- As soon as the stain covers the desired area of specimen our job is done. We don’t need to cover the entire coverslip, just the sample area. If our sample is not stained yet then repeat the above procedure with a new filter paper and more stain drops.
- Wipe out the extra stain as it can leave some permanent mark on the objective lens.
- Now our slide is ready to be placed on the stage. Follow all the instructions for handling the microscope.
- Always wash and dry both the slides after using them.
4. Focusing Tension:
The tension system is located on the focusing rack in most of the stereo type microscope. It is not present on the head. To increase or decrease the tension of the system rotates the focusing rack dual knob in the opposite direction.
- For model 600 and 800 series: to increase or decrease the tension of the system use the wrench on the microscope.
- For model above 490: To increase the tension, rotate the ring present on the interior of the right-hand focus knob. Rotate the knob in the opposite direction to decrease the tension.
5. Changing The Eyepieces
A Small screw is fixed on the eyetube. Take a screwdriver of approx 1mm in size. Take out the screw with its help. Insert a new eyepiece. If you want to turn the microscope upside-down make sure to tighten up the screw. You can also remove the eyepiece completely for the same.
6. Color Filter Installation
Microscopes with model abbe condenser and adjustable iris has a ring holder. Now, place the color filter in the ring holder. Place the color filter on the lens or cover of a microscope in case of. Microscopes with disc iris condenser.
7. Installing Microscope Head
To loosen the locking screw use the hex wrench. If you want to tighten the screw again use the hex wrench.
This device can be folded easily. It prevents double images or any other view errors. It also blocks the extra light hitting on our eyes.
Things You Should Know Before Using Microscope
The microscope has various applications. It can be used for work, for teaching students, or at home. All the microscopes are considered to be very precise instruments. Buying any random microscope can result in a lot of money waste. Below we have discussed some things which you should know before using a microscope.
- Know the purpose: A microscope is used for various purposes. Know your purpose first and buy a microscope accordingly. Microscopes are used for some specific jobs like testing in laboratories, in the asbestos industry.
- Accurate lenses: Consider the high-quality plan lenses. You can also choose a plan apo objective lens. This lens is the industry-standard lens. This lens insure us to obtain a crisp and clear image.
- Focus system: High-quality lens requires a good focus system for better results. Different types of focus systems are the available market.
- Resolution and Magnification: magnification is the most important feature of a microscope is a myth. Resolution is important along with magnification. Without a resolution, all you get is a bigger blur image of your sample.
- Use accessories: Most microscopes don’t come with accessories. You need to buy them. Camera adaptors and spare lamps are the most widely used.
- If you use a microscope then choose binocular over monocular. Binocular cause less strain on your eyes and save your eyesight.
- Lighting system: Consider the lighting of your microscope. If you are not satisfied then install the other lighting system accordingly.
We have tried to provide you a reliable information on how to use a microscope properly. However, microscope can be used for personal use, research, educational purpose, or any industry. A microscope is a very expensive instrument.
We recommend you know your need first. Analyze the tasks you need to perform. Then, according to your requirement buy a desirable microscope. This instrument can be proved as highly addictive. Don’t overuse it. Use this instrument only for your work and not fun activities. Buy extra accessories so that if you break one you can replace it hand to hand.