Microscopes are widely used in different fields, such as education, science, and industries. They allow the user to see an enlarged image of the object under observation. There are different types of microscopes having different uses. One of the most common types of microscopes is the light microscope. Stereo microscopes and compound microscopes are a subtype of the light microscope. A compound microscope allows the user to see 2D images of smaller objects. Have you ever wondered which type of microscope is used to see larger objects?
If you want to observe a 3D image of a larger object, then a stereo microscope is used. The stereo microscope is also a type of light microscope, but it differs from compound microscopes in many ways. To learn more about stereo microscopes, their uses, and how it differs from the compound microscope, keep reading.
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What is a Stereo Microscope?
A stereo microscope, also known as a ”dissecting microscope,” is a type of optical microscope having low magnification. In this specific type of microscope, instead of transmitting, light is reflected from the surface of the object. There are numerous best stereo microscopes having optical paths with two objectives and eyepieces. This setup allows different viewing angles to the left and right eyes. This special arrangement of lenses provides a 3D image of the object being examined.
Parts of a Stereo Microscope
Every microscope has different parts aiding them in forming the image. Three components that are the same in stereo microscopes and any other microscopes are the head, base, and arm. The head contains the optical instrument, the base holds the sample and provides support to the microscope, and the arm connects the head to the base, and has adjustment knobs. The following are the main parts present in a stereo microscope:
- Eye tubes
- Diopter adjustment rings
- Objective lenses
- Stage clips
- Stage plate
- Focus knob
- Zoom knob
- Barlow lens
There are numerous uses of stereo microscopes in different fields. Here is a list of all the uses of stereo microscopes:
The structures found in the brain and our nervous system are extremely minute. They require special instruments to be viewed. In neuroscience, stereo microscopes play an important role to examine the structure of the brain and other neuronal structures.
Tools used for construction are small and intricate. The parts used to make these small tools are even smaller. For this purpose, we opt for the use of stereo microscopes. They are used for the manufacturing of many small tools such as electrodes, implants, and other construction equipment.
Microscopes have vast uses in the field of medicine. The human body consists of intricate pathways and complex systems. A very fine needle manipulation is required to perform surgeries. Stereo microscopes allow this fine manipulation during difficult surgeries. They are even used during different dissection procedures.
In paleontology, stereo microscopes are used to analyze and clean fossils. This type of microscope is specifically used to observe larger objects. They are used to study the solid surfaces of specimens. A stereo microscope model, the Carl Zeiss XB is employed to study fossils.
A low-power stereo microscope is ideal for studying insects. They are used to examine different insects without dissecting them. Although you can perform dissections on them under a stereo microscope. The insect structure can be better understood with a 3D image formed by this type of microscope.
In botany, stereo microscopes are used to conduct a detailed study of different structures of plants and flowers. It helps in understanding the morphology of the plant, and for carrying out the chromosome count.
Stereo microscopes are used in the manufacturing and repair of different equipment used in engineering and IT fields. Technicians often use stereo microscopes while repairing circuit boards. Circuit boards are very intricate requiring special focus and view for repair.
They are widely used in different industries for maintaining quality. The quality of products is measured by viewing the products under a stereo microscope. Through these quality checks, different quality-related problems can be detected such as microfractures.
In pathology, stereo microscopes are employed to detect any abnormalities in the blood or other parts of the body. They are used for examining different skin conditions, and other diseases. Any variation in color or number of cells is easily observed under a stereo microscope. Pathologists can produce confident results with the use of a stereo microscope.
They are also utilized while making watches as the components of a watch are small and delicate. Leica stereo microscopes, such as Leica A60 F, are specifically used for facilitating the delicate assembly of watches. The 3D view allows the watchmakers to work with greater precision.
In forensic science, stereo microscopes are used for locating, isolating, identifying, and comparing different samples and evidence. Stereo microscopes are used for comparing and matching documents, paints, physical matches, and other impression evidence.
In geology, they are used to analyze soil, minerals, rocks, and crystals. Stereo microscopes help geologists in understanding the physical characteristics of the rock and the conditions in which the rock formed. Different rock types and textures are analyzed with these microscopes.
Some of the best microscopes help in microbiology. Most of them are stereo microscopes used to examine the pond water for analyzing different microorganisms found in it. Microorganisms can also be examined by other types of microscopes. However, stereo microscopes allow a 3D view from different angles.
Types of Stereo Microscopes
The two main types of stereo microscopes are:
Greenough Stereo Microscope: This type of stereo microscope consists of two identical optical systems aligned in a single housing and projected at an angle. They are similar to having two light microscopes. Greenough stereo microscopes are cost-effective and offer high resolution. Thus, they are highly preferred in the education and industrial sector.
Common Main Objective (CMO) Stereo Microscope: Similarly, CMO consists of a single large objective lens placed in front of the scope. This objective lens uses parallel light by which you can see the specimen through both left and right channels.
Difference Between Compound Microscope and Stereo Microscope
The following table mentions the major differences between a compound microscope and a stereo microscope.
|Feature||Compound Microscope||Stereo Microscope|
|Working Distance||Smaller (2-10 mm)||Larger (>40 mm)|
|Type of Image||2 Dimensional||3 Dimensional|
|Magnification Range||40x to 1000x||10x to 50x|
|Large opaque objects|
Pros and Cons of Stereo Microscopes
The pros of stereo microscopes are:
- Stereo microscopes allow the user to observe opaque specimens.
- It forms a three-dimensional image of the object.
- It also has the feature of microphotography.
- Stereo microscopes have a large stage allowing us to see larger specimens.
The cons of stereo microscopes are:
- Stereo microscopes are bulky and heavy.
- They are expensive to buy.
- A stereo microscope does not allow to view the tissue structures of bacteria and viruses.
- Their maintenance is expensive and time-consuming.
Microscopes are instruments used to view smaller objects and specimens that are invisible to the naked eye. Stereo microscopes are a type of light microscope having two optical pathways. These reflect light from the surface of the object instead of transmitting it through the object. This type of microscope has wide applications as they produce a three-dimensional image. They are used in different fields, including microbiology, pathology, surgery, forensic science, paleontology, botany, and entomology. Stereo microscopes are used to see large opaque objects as it provides a larger stage and working distance.