Microscopes have helped us see things magnified since the 13th century. The invention of the magnifying glass allowed physicists to study the details of objects. The magnifying glass further transformed into an optical microscope, and electron microscopes were born after years of hard work and research. Various kinds of light microscopes, including compound and stereo microscopes, are the microscopes types used in labs and homes nowadays. While simple microscopes have applications in telescopes and binoculars.
Let us tell you about the differences between light microscopes and simple microscopes.
Table of Contents
|Compound microscope and stereo microscope
|Spectacle magnifiers and spectacle-mounted telescopes
|10x to 2000x
|6x to 10x
|Eyepieces, objective lens, nosepiece,
mechanical stage, focus knobs,
condenser, and illumination source
|Eyepieces and objectives
|LED or Halogen
|Sturdy metal or plastic arm
|Short wooden arm (if present)
|Observing biological and physics specimen
|Binoculars and telescopes
What are Light Microscopes?
Light microscopes are the most widely used in schools, colleges, and industries. Dissecting microscopes and compound microscopes are the most common light microscopes. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that all compound microscopes are light microscopes, but not all light microscopes are compound microscopes. These allow you to observe microorganisms. On the other hand, stereo microscopes are better known as microscopes for electronic repairs. They are used to study gems, coins, and electric circuits. Light microscopes generally allow you to study objects between 10x and 2500x magnification.
The history of the light microscope goes back to 1590 when Hans and Zacharias Janssen developed the first compound microscope. The working principle of the compound microscope was similar to the light microscopes used today. Galileo also designed another microscope in 1609 that was called a ‘microscope’ for the first time in 1625.
Structure of Light Microscopes
Light microscopes are advanced than stereo microscopes, but not as complex as electron microscopes. Yet, they are composed of multiple components. All light microscopes have eyepieces, objective lenses, and a light source. The number of ocular lenses may depend on the type of microscope use. This way, there are a number of best monocular microscopes, binocular microscopes, and trinocular microscopes.
The main components of a light microscope include:
- Objective lenses
- Stage and stage clips
- Light source
- Focus knobs
Working Principle of Light Microscope
Light microscopes produce a magnified image of samples by the combined action of objective lenses and eyepieces. The light microscope uses an LED or halogen light source to illuminate the specimen. Older light microscopes used natural light for brightness. The light then passes through the condenser and converges on the sample.
Next, the objective lenses study the object or prepared slide placed on the mechanical stage. The images travel to the eyepieces through the ocular tube. The eyepiece lenses further magnify the image for observation. Trinocular microscopes come with three ocular tubes where you can insert a camera like the AmScope MU1803.
All light microscopes have the same principle. Yet, the magnification of stereo microscopes is lower than compound microscopes.
Despite various types of light microscopes, compound light microscopes are the most common. They typically have a magnification of up to 2500x. You may adjust the magnification per your need through rotatable objective lenses. Alternatively, stereo light microscopes generally offer a maximum magnification of 50x. Some light microscopes come with an LCD screen and are called digital microscopes.
Uses of Light Microscopes
Light microscopes have utilization in all branches of science, including microbiology, biology, and physics. They are used to study living cells, tissues, microorganisms, insects, coins, and electrical circuits. Microscopes like Swift 350T and AmScope B120C are suitable for microorganisms. Furthermore, stereo microscopes like Leica A60 are better suited to studying larger objects.
What are Simple Microscopes?
Simple microscopes refer to magnifying glasses or handheld lenses that can only magnify an object a few times. Their maximum magnification is typically 10x, which allows you to read better and understand the surface details of objects. They cannot be used to study germs or bacteria in the science laboratory. However, students may use it to study the surface of insects and plants.
The earliest simple microscope or magnifying glass was invented in the 13th century. Some studies also show that Alhazen created the first magnifying glass in 1021. They only had one lens, sometimes attached to a wooden stick to hold it. During that period, they were only used to study insects like fleas. Hence, they were commonly known as flea glasses.
The first light microscope was invented in 1590, more than three centuries after the development of magnifying glass.
Structure of Simple Microscope
A magnifying glass is indeed the simplest microscope that only comprises a single lens. The simple microscope comprises a single convex lens that magnifies the object when held near the lens. This convex lens acts as a merging entity that helps produce a larger sample picture.
Working Principle of Simple Microscope
The lens in the magnifying glass is a convex lens with an outward curved surface that bends light. The light converges when it falls on the lens. The converged light produces a virtual image of the object. Due to the distance between the object and the virtual image, the sample looks enlarged. Eventually, the magnifying glass tricks you into seeing the object quite bigger than it is.
Simple microscopes, the most primitive equipment for obtaining enlarged images, did not have a high magnification. The magnification of these convex lenses typically ranged between 6x and 10x.
Uses of Simple Microscope
Simple microscopes have been modified and used extensively in biology and astronomy. They may also be considered suitable microscopes for children with adult supervision. Despite their non-complex nature, they are a part of various devices like cameras, binoculars, and microscopes. Simple microscopes are also utilized by the elderly to observe and read sometimes.
Differences Between Light Microscope and Simple Microscope
Light microscopes utilize a natural LED or halogen light source to illuminate and magnify objects.
Simple microscopes use a single lens to enlarge the object under observation.
The first light microscope was invented in 1590 by two Dutch spectacle-makers, Hans and Zacharias Janssen.
The invention of first simple microscope dates back to 1021, invented by Alhazen.
Light microscopes are of multiple types. The most widely used light microscopes are compound microscopes and stereo microscopes.
Simple microscopes or free-hand magnifying glasses are categorized as spectacle magnifiers and spectacle-mounted telescopes.
Light microscopes offer a magnification between 10x and 2000x, depending on the type of microscope.
Simple microscopes offer a low magnification of 6x to 10x for magnifying objects under observation.
Light microscopes have a complex structure comprising eyepieces, objective lenses, a revolving nosepiece, a mechanical stage, focus knobs, a condenser, and an illumination source.
Simple microscopes comprise only a lens and may sometimes have a handle for holding the lens.
Light microscopes use two types of lenses: objective lenses and eyepieces. They utilize more than one objective lens for varying magnifications.
Simple microscopes make use of a single convex lens to observe the samples.
Light microscopes use a halogen or LED illumination source to brighten the specimen.
Simple microscopes make use of natural light to observe the samples.
A light microscope uses a condenser to converge the light produced by the light source.
The simple microscope does not require a condenser and uses the convex lens instead.
Light microscopes have a sturdy curved arm to hold the microscope body.
Simple microscopes do not have a huge arm to hold the lens. Instead, a small stick-like holder may be attached to the lens.
Light microscopes are widely used in physics and biology applications. You can observe living cells, tissues, microorganisms, electric circuits, coins, and gems.
Simple microscopes are used in binoculars and telescopes to magnify the objects under observation.
The Bottom Line
Light microscopes and simple microscopes are used in different branches of science. You can find light microscopes of various brands and manufacturers for specific purposes. Handheld glasses are not used as commonly today, yet their utilization in telescopes and binoculars prevails. The main difference between light and simple microscopes is their structure which impacts their magnification. Magnifying glasses offer 6x to 10x magnification. On the other hand, you may observe up to 2500x magnification in a compound microscope, and it even extends to millions in an electron microscope.
Frequestly Asked Questions
Is a light microscope called a simple microscope?
Light microscopes are commonly known as compound microscopes. They use two types of lenses that produce a magnified effect combined. Dissecting microscopes are also light microscopes as they use LED light for illumination.
What is a simple light microscope?
Simple light microscopes use a single lens to magnify any object. They have a low magnification resulting from the convergence produced by convex lenses.
What is the difference between a light microscope and a compound microscope?
Light microscopes and compound microscopes are interchangeable as compound microscopes are a type of light microscope. They use two kinds of lenses to produce higher magnification than simple microscopes.