Microscopes are inventions that have opened the world of microbes and minuscule objects which paved the way for the discovery of causative agents of numerous deadly diseases. Microscopes are indeed one of the biggest and most revolutionary inventions until now. A microscope is a device that has the ability to magnify an object. Objects are magnified hundred fold, thousand fold and so on so that they can be seen with the naked eye with ease. Different types of microscopes are highly useful in biological labs to study cells, tissues, bacteria and other microorganisms.

Depending on the principle of how they work, there are various types of microscopes available. The magnifying power varies and the functioning differs from one microscope to the other. Here is a broad classification of the various types of microscopes and their uses:

different types of microscopes

Types of Microscopes

There are simple microscopes and compound microscopes in the basic classification where simple microscopes have only one lens and are used to magnify fairly larger objects while compound microscopes have two lenses and have greater magnifying power. Simple microscopes are also known as dissecting microscopes because they are used for dissections.

Microscopes are again divided into light microscopes and electron microscopes depending on the source used for magnification.

Light Microscopes

Light microscopes utilize light for illumination and may be of various types again.

  • Bright field microscopes

  • Fluorescent microscopes

  • Dark field microscopes

  • Phase contrast microscopes

Their usage varies and adjustments may be done accordingly. Bright field microscopes are the most common microscopes used in labs. Fluorescent microscopes use fluorescent light. Phase contrast on the other hand are types of microscopes that make the magnified image of the object visible through a sharp contrast and dark field microscopes illuminate the background instead of the image itself.

different types of light microscopes

Electron Microscopes

These are more sensitive and have a larger magnifying power than light microscopes. These microscopes do not use light but electrons and thus need to be handled with a lot of care. They are classified into:

  • Scanning electron microscopes

  • Transmission electron microscope

The latter uses a single beam of light and magnifies even the smallest details of cells. The SEM provides a three dimensional image and the accuracy is the biggest advantage of electron microscopes. There are more numerous variations on the types of microscopes such as the tunnelling microscope which also uses electrons. This is again a very sensitive microscope that uses high-end technology.

Depending on the requirement and purpose of the microscope lab, you can choose from the wide array of microscopes available. Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, it is important for you to buy the right brand and to check everything before purchase so that you don’t end up buying the wrong type of microscopes. Cheap microscopes will not give you the accurate magnification and your experiments can go wrong.