Microscope FAQ

What is the difference between a stereo microscope and a compound microscope?

A stereo microscopes comes with two independent optical paths. This allows to give a deep perception and 3D effect on the sample. It is true-sided and upright. Stereomicroscopes have a magnification range from around 10 to 80 times. Usually offered with fix end magnifications 10x/30x or 20x/40x but also available with a continous zoom.

Higher resolutions are not useful because  the stereo effect as well as the resolution decreases sharply.

Stereomicroscopes are mainly used for inspection of electronic parts, textiles, minerals, different hobby applications. But they are also great for children who want to venture into microscopy.

A standard biological microscope has one optical path which is splitted in the tube that gives you right and left an identical image. It is used to look at specimens under very high magnification (40 -1000 or higher). Typical specimens for this type of microscope would be e.g. cells and bacteria.

What is an infinity-corrected objective?

The infinity optical system become common place around the 1980s, before all microscopes had a fixed tube length of 160mm which was standardized from the Royal Microscopical Society in the nineteenth century and was standard for over 100 years.

When optical accessories  are inserted into the light path of a fixed tube, the optical system now has a tube length of more than 160 mm. In order to be able to adjust to the change in the tube length, the manufacturers had to install additional optical elements to restore the pipe length of 160 mm.
For this purpose a tube lens is placed within the body tube between the objective and the eyepieces to produce the intermediate image. The Infinity optical system allows the use of additional components needed for different lighting processes, like polarization or different illuminators.

Can I use an infinity-corrected objective on a finite tube length microscope?

No, because there is no lens in the  finite system  which is able to to focus the parallel rays.

What is the difference between achromat & plan achromat objectives?

The difference is the degree of field flatness. Objectives are corrected for field curvature and color aberration. The flatter the field the more lenses needed which increases the price.

What does coaxial mean?

Coaxial describes the kind of the movement of coincident axes hat share one common axis. E.g. on the mechanical stage, one knob controls the “X axis” movement and the other controls the “Y axis”. The coaxial focusing system means, that the fine focus control is inside of the coarse focus control.

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