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Shedding Light on Samples: An Optical Microscope Specifications Guide

Mon, 09/27/2010 - 11:20am
Lindsay Hock

While electron, scanning probe, and ion beam microscopes garner headlines for their ability to detect to nanoscale levels, optical microscopes maintain their vital role as the workhorses of research laboratories. Many applications in the life science, biology, medical, and measuring industries, as well as educational institutions, rely on these forms of microscopes.

New features are extending the capabilities of these tools to produce better images at higher magnifications. Automated stages, cameras, computer interfaces, fine focus, image analysis processing software, and oil immersion objectives, can be added to these microscopes to better improve magnification, resolution, and ease-of-use.

Optical microscopes use visible light and a system of lenses to magnify images of small samples. While the basic optical microscope is simple in design, manufacturers aim to meet the demands of researchers by improving the resolution and sample contrast with each product introduced to the market.

Two main types of optical microscopes dominate the market—the compound microscope and digital microscope. Some digital microscopes capture images directly to a camera and display them on a monitor, eliminating the need for the eyepiece associated with traditional optical microscopes.

Companies that participated in the Optical Microscope Specifications Guide:

View the PDF of the Optical Microscope Specifications Guide found in the 2011 R&D Industry Guide

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