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What Does Microscope Mean?

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The word ‘Microscope’ comes from the Latin word ‘Microscopium,’ which is derived from the Ancient Greek word: μικρός, mikrós, meaning"small" and σκοπεῖν, skopeîn, means "to look" or "see".

So, do you know what microscopes are?

The microscope is an instrument used to detect small objects that are invisible to the naked eye and the science behind this investigation is microscopy. 

The use of a microscope is, in interacting with the sample (a crystal/blood sample) and producing images by sending a beam of light/electrons through the sample’s optical path. Also, it helps in detecting photon emissions from a sample, and much more.

On this page, we will understand the use of microscopes with the application of microscopes.

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What is Microscope?

The use of microscope helps us in getting a closer view of exceedingly minute objects that are in the range of  10-n metres.

The enlarged image can be formed by waveforms including X-ray, acoustic, or electron beam, and be received by direct or digital imaging or by a combination of both methods. 

The microscope can also provide both a dynamic image just like conventional optical instruments and a static, like conventional scanning electron microscopes.

A range of power in which the microscope enlarges the image of the object is the magnifying power, and now we will discuss the same on the page.

Magnifying Power of Microscope Formula

The magnifying power of a microscope formula is a mathematical expression for the number of times the object when examined appears to be enlarged.

We express the magnifying power of the microscope formula in the following manner:

\[M=\frac{tan\beta }{tan\alpha }=\frac{\text {It is the angle subtended by the final image to the eye}}{\text{the angle subtended by the object seen directly}}\] (dimensionless ratio)

So, the magnifying power of microscope formula is the ratio of the angle subtended by the final image to the eye to the angle subtended by the object seen directly, provided that both of these are kept at least distance of distinct vision (- 25 cm). 

We call the magnifying power of microscopes the angular magnification.


tan β ≈ β

tan 𝛼 ≈ 𝛼 

The above two cases are possible when the angles and are very small. So, we rewrite the above equation as;

\[M=\frac{\beta }{\alpha }\]

Also, M Total = M Objective X M Eyepiece

So, total magnification = magnification of objective * magnification of the eyepiece. 

Now, let’s understand the types of microscopes and the uses of microscopes.

Types of Microscopes

Various types of microscopes that we find in a laboratory are as follows:

  1. Simple microscopes

  2. Compound microscopes

  3. Scanning electron microscopes

  4. Transmission electron microscopes

  5. Phase-contrast microscopes

  6. Interference microscopes

  7. Confocal microscopes

  8. Stereoscopic microscopes

  9. Light microscopes: Dark field microscopes and bright field microscopes

  10.  Fluorescence microscopes

  11.  X-ray microscope

So, what is the use of a microscope? Let us understand it:

Application of Microscope 

Below, you can see the uses of microscope:

  • Microscopes are used in examining the ailments by getting a larger view of the blood sample in detecting the parasites, bacterias attacking the red blood.

  • Scientists use a microscope for studying microorganisms, cells, crystalline structures, and molecular structures.

  • Microscopes help doctors diagnose the tissue sample.

  • The use of a compound microscope is found in examining the following samples:

  1. Blood cells

  2. Cheek cells

  3. Parasites

  4. Bacteria

  5. Algae

  6. Tissue

  7. Thin sections of organs

  8.  Detecting the UTI (urinary tract infection) in the urine sample

  9. Detecting germs

  10. Detect crime cases

  11. Used in performing research and medical advancements

  12. Determine the cause of diseases

  13. An aid for prevention of diseases

  14. Create electronic devices and circuits

  15. Discovery of microorganisms

  16. For open branches of sciences

  17. In Forensics

In forensics, a microscope is used to study general criminal science, forensic epidemiology, forensic anthropology, and forensic pathology.

In every crime scene, criminals erase all the proofs of their miscreant, so a microscope in Forensic helps doctors examine organs, bones, and other parts of the body to know the cause of the death.

Do You Know?

  • A German Physicist named Ernst August Friedrich Ruska designed the first electron microscope. He was conferred with a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986 for his work in electron optics, including the invention of the electron microscope.

  • The first detailed study of the microscopic anatomy of organic tissue, based on the use of the microscope was not discovered until 1644 in Giambattista Odierna’s Locchio Della musca.

  • The use of microscopes was widely considered a novelty between the 1660s and 1670s when it was used to study biology by naturalists in England, Italy, and the Netherlands.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Who Invented the First-Ever Microscope?

Ans: The first-ever microscope was invented in the year 1509. After its invention, the lives of people changed. People could see the new world of living beings inside the water, in our food, in plants, in our nose, and so on. 

Then, in the late 16th century, numerous Dutch lens makers designed various devices that could magnify the objects; however,  in 1609, an  Italian natural philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician named Galileo Galilei perfected the first-ever device named microscope.

Galileo also made great contributions in the field of astronomy, in the sciences of motion, the strength of materials, and the development of various scientific methods.

Dutch Lens makers Zacharias Janssen and Hans Lipperhey were the first men to develop the concept of the compound microscope.

2. What is an Electron Microscope?

Ans: An electron microscope uses a beam of highly-accelerated electrons as a source of illumination. Since the wavelength of an electron can be 100,000 times shorter than that of visible light photons; however, they have a higher resolving power than light microscopes and can reveal the structure of smaller objects.

Electron microscopes possess a high accelerating voltage, i.e., higher than a conventional microscope of 100 kV. They offer greater penetrating power and due to the shorter wavelength of the electrons used, they allow a better instrumental resolution of the object to be achieved. 

In an electron microscope, the use of a high-resolution, high-voltage microscope with a medium-voltage between 300 kV and 400kV turns out to be the best perspective for the direct study of crystal structures.