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How Do I Choose the Best Light Microscope?

Three paramecia are seen under a microscope.
A woman using a light microscope.
A light microscope.
A light microscope.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jennifer Leigh
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 09 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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When choosing the best light microscope, it is important to determine what your needs are. If you are a student, you will have needs that are different from those of a professional researcher, so your needs will provide some parameters for choosing your equipment. Your budget also will be a consideration, because certain light microscopes cost significantly more than others. In addition, some light microscopes perform certain functions better than others, such as providing contrast or showing three-dimensional images, so it is important to understand the specifications when you are making your decision.

Whether you are a student or a professional who wants to purchase a light microscope, you should seriously consider the type of work that you will be doing. The types of samples that you will be studying are an important consideration when making a choice, because fixed objects work better with inverted light microscopes, and live objects work better with upright scopes. Some live objects need temperature-controlled settings so that they will not die when placed under the light microscope. Certain microscopes have thicker lenses that work better with fixed objects, so it is a matter of determining your needs before making a decision that is right for you.

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If you are looking for a basic light microscope, it is important to make sure that it has a few specifications before purchasing it. A built-in illuminator, contrast control and mechanical stage are necessary to perform most experiments. In addition, focus knobs and a binocular eyepiece tube help you make small adjustments so that you can see the object better under the microscope.

Professional scientists sometimes need microscopes that have more capabilities, such as the use of fluorescent lighting. More advanced light microscopes are capable of producing greater resolution depth and a three-dimensional effect, which is necessary in some applications. Talking to a person who works at the store can help you narrow your search based on these features.

The cost is a big consideration when choosing the best light microscope, because they can vary in price by extreme amounts. Determining your budget first is the best way to go about the choice, because after your budget has been determined, you can easily narrow your selection. If you are choosing a light microscope for a professional organization, it is important to let the organization know exactly what is needed and why so that the people in charge of the organization's budget will understand the cost.

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