Difference Between Simple Microscope and Compound Microscope

Dhristi JEE 2022-24

An Introduction

A magnifying glass is a simple microscope that uses one lens for magnifying small objects like small alphabets.

Simple microscopes have real-life applications in the Biology lab, where we employ this device for observing the internal structure of plants, animals, and microorganisms.

If we talk about the compound microscope, the purpose of this microscope is the same as that of the simple microscope; however, it uses multiple lenses to magnify real-world objects that are invisible to the naked eye.

Here, we will learn to distinguish between a simple microscope and a compound microscope.

 

Differentiate Between Simple and Compound Microscope 

The difference between simple and compound microscope lies hereunder:

Simple Microscope

Compound Microscope

The first simple microscope was invented by Antony van Leeuwenhoek around 1670.

The first compound microscope was invented by Hans and Zacharias Janssen, circa 1950.

A simple microscope is used in places where rigorous research is not required. 

A compound microscope is used for professional purposes, i.e., at places where extensive research is required.

We use a simple microscope at a fundamental level. It is equipped with one bi-convex lens with a short focal length. It can enlarge the objects placed on the focal length.

It is an instrument used to have a magnified view of small objects on a glass slide.

Objects can be viewed with a single lens.

Compound means many, and compound microscope means using multiple (3 to 5) lenses.

One lens is embedded in simple microscopes.

It is equipped with one bi-convex lens with a short focal length.

Two sets of lenses are embedded in compound microscopes viz: objective lens and ocular or eyepiece lens.

The total magnification of the simple microscope is limited to one lens only.

The total magnification of the compound microscope is the product of the magnification of the objective lens and the eyepiece.

Low magnification as compared to the compound microscope.

The magnification of this microscope is higher than that of the simple microscope.

A condenser lens is not required in simple microscopes.

The condenser lens is embedded in compound microscopes for adjusting the intensity of the light to magnify the object.

Less usage of knobs, and hooks.

Use knobs to focus the light to get a clear and concise image of the object.

The light source is natural in simple microscopes.

An illuminator is used as a source of light when tiny objects are to be observed.

Since the stand is small, the hollow cylindrical base is attached to hold the microscope.

A curved arm is used to hold the microscope.

A simple microscope employs a concave mirror.

A compound microscope employs a plane mirror at one side and a concave mirror at the other.

It contains only one adjustment screw to move the limb up and down for focusing on the object.

A compound microscope has two adjustment screws viz: coarse and fine

Coarse Adjustment: It is used for rapid focus on an object.

Fine Adjustment: It is used for fine and sharp focus on objects. 

These microscopes can be employed for obtaining an enlarged view of small objects.

A compound microscope has extensive use for the in-depth study of cells of living beings.

 

Applications of Simple Microscope and Compound Microscope

Let’s say, you are doing a simple eye exercise by focusing on the tip of your finger and bringing it close to your eyes slowly. On bringing it near to your eyes, i.e., before the least distinct vision (25 cm), the image becomes blurred. To get a magnified view of the same, we use a microscope. 

Microscopes have wide real-life applications, let’s discuss the applications of the simple and compound microscope one-by-one:

 

Simple Microscope

  • It is used by watchmakers to obtain a magnified view of small parts of the watch.

  • It is used by jewellers to get a magnified view of the fine parts of jewellery can.

  • A simple microscope is called the hand lens or the reading lens to obtain an enlarged view of hard-to-read small alphabets.

  • It is used by a dermatologist (a skin specialist) to examine various skin diseases.

  • It is used in studying soil particles (Pedology).

 

Compound Microscope

Compound microscopes are used to obtain a magnified view of objects at 40x to 1000x resolution, which is formed by the combination of the objective lens and the eyepiece.

The real-life applications of these microscopes are as follows:

  • Forensic labs: Crime cases are solved by drawing human cells and examining them under the compound microscope.

  • Compound microscopes are used in Pathology labs to detect diseases.

 

Fun Fact

Around the year 1670, Antony van Leeuwenhoek invented the single-lens simple microscope that magnified up to 200x and achieved twice the resolution of the objects at those times because he crafted good quality lenses.


Simple Microscope

Magnifying glass consisting of a double convex lens along with short focal lengths is a simple microscope. Some of the lenses that are based on the same design are the reading lens and hand lens. The process on which the microscope works starts by placing an object near to the length, then with the help of its principal focus an image is produced that is quite bigger and erect from the original object. The image formed of the object placed near the microscope is virtual and cannot be projected on a screen like a real image. 

The simple micro has different parts like - 

  1. Eyepiece - eyepiece is the lens that is placed on the top of the microscope and used to study the samples.

  2. Base - the base provides a stronghold to the microscope.

  3. Tube - the tube is a bar-like structure that is used to connect the eyepiece and the objective lens. 

  4. Objective lens - these lenses are colour-coded and do all the magnification in the microscope. 

  5. Revolving nosepiece - this piece helps to shift the viewing by rotating by the viewer. 

  6. Diaphragm - the diaphragm is used to provide sufficient light to the microscope for viewing. 

  7. Stage - the stage is used to place the slides in front of the objective lens. 


Compound microscope 

The compound microscope has a higher resolution compared to a simple microscope and uses a set of two lenses that can provide a two-dimensional image of the sample placed in the slide. The term compound used in the compound microscope defines itself as the use of more than one lens at least two lens minimum at a time. The respective microscope is considered to be among the standard microscopes that are used for general purposes. The compound microscope can magnify the objects from the complex system. 

The compound microscope is used to study the details of tissues, cells, or any other sections of organs. Hence, the parts of the compound microscope are divided into sections 

  1. Optical Parts - Diaphragm, Reflector, Condenser, objective lenses, reflector, ocular lens.

  2. Non-optical Parts - Base, pillar, arm, inclination joint, stage, body type, drawtube, rack and pinion, automatic stop, adjustment screws. 

The compound microscope has multiple lenses that can provide detailed information about the sample. The respective microscope even has their own source of light that is quite helpful for the detailed analysis. The structure of the compound microscope is designed to be user-friendly and for ease of handle.


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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Working Principle of the Compound Microscope?

A compound microscope is considered a light microscope.


The idea behind the working of the compound microscope is that a small object can be viewed by placing it beyond the focal length of the objective lens. A virtual, erect, and highly magnified image of the object is formed at the least distinct of vision, i.e., at 25 cm distance from the eye.

2. List the Types of Microscopes.

Microscopes are of various types with varying applications. Let’s discuss their types one-by-one:

  • Bright field Transmitted Microscope (Mostly used microscope)

  • Phase Contrast Microscope (PCM)

  • Differential Interference Microscope (DIM)

  • Stereo Microscopes

  • Reflected Light Metallurgical (RLM)

  • Polarizing (PLM)

  • Epi-Fluorescence

 3. How does a Microscope work?

Microscopes are the arrangement of tubes packed with lenses, curved pieces of glass that refracts light rays passing through them. A lens above the object or the objective lens and another lens near your eye is the eyepiece or ocular lens.

4. Why do we study a Microscope?

A microscope enables scientists to ascertain in-depth contact between the structures and functions at varying levels of resolution. 


Microscopes have continued to be modified since they were first invented and used by the early scientist named Anthony Leeuwenhoek to observe microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, and blood cells.

5. What is a simple microscope?

A simple microscope is a magnifying glass consisting of a double convex lens along with short focal lengths. These microscopes are designed exactly like the lens used for zooming in and getting good-quality pictures.  The process on which the microscope works starts by placing an object near to the length, then with the help of its principal focus an image is produced that is quite bigger and erect from the original object. Some of the lenses that are based on the same design are the reading lens and hand lens.

6. What is a compound microscope?

The term compound used in the compound microscope defines itself as the use of more than one lens at least two lens minimum at a time. It has a higher resolution compared to a simple microscope and uses a set of two lenses that can provide a two-dimensional image of the sample placed in the slide. The respective microscope is considered to be among the standard microscopes that are used for general purposes. The compound microscopes are available in schools, small laboratories, etc. 

7. What parts are present in a compound microscope?

The compound microscope is generally used in schools to study the details of tissues, cells, or any other sections of organs. These are used also in some laboratories for study purposes. So basically they are used in some of the regular uses. Hence, the parts of the compound microscope are divided into sections 

  1. Optical Parts - 

  • Diaphragm, 

  • Reflector, 

  • Condenser, 

  • objective 

  • lenses, 

  • reflector, 

  • ocular lens.

  1. Non-optical Parts - 

  • Base, 

  • pillar, 

  • arm, 

  • inclination joint, 

  • stage, 

  • body type, 

  • drawtube, 

  • rack and pinion, 

  • automatic stop, 

  • adjustment screws. 

8. What are the uses of a compound microscope?

The compound microscope is used mostly for study purposes some of them are mentioned below - 

  1. The compound microscopes are used to scan human fingerprints in forensic laboratories.

  2. Compound microscopes are a good option for the study of bacteria and viruses.

  3. Mostly the compound microscopes are used in schools for academic purposes. 

  4. The compound microscopes are used for the identification of diseases in the pathology labs. 

  5. The compound microscopes can easily detect the presence of metals. 

9. What is the main difference between a compound microscope and a simple microscope?

The main difference between a compound microscope and a simple microscope is that the simple microscope uses a single lens that is used for reading like daily activity but the compound microscope has to work on more than one lens that makes a difference in clarity. The respective microscope is considered to be among the standard microscopes that are used for general purposes.

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