Monday, October 15, 2012

Selecting the Right Microscope

Swift knows that choosing the right microscope for your classroom can be confusing. Before you decide to buy, here are some important questions you should ask yourself:
  • Will you be teaching elementary, intermediate, high school or university students?
  • Do you need a microscope with special features like the ability to capture images?
  • Do you want a microscope that can be used in the classroom as well as out in the field?
  • Do you want a microscope that can integrate with your existing technology or with future technology?
Okay, now that we have the basics answered, it's important to evaluate the major microscope types. There are compound microscopes and stereo microscopes.

Compound microscopes are comprised of two lens systems: the eyepiece and the objective. They provide high magnification power and a two-dimensional view of specimens. Compound microscopes also have several eyepiece options including monocular (one), binocular (two) and trinocular (three, generally used with a camera). Compound microscopes are ideal for applications such as viewing blood samples, cells and cell structures, bacteria, pond water and liquids. It is generally thought that monocular microscopes are easier for young students to use.

Stereo microscopes feature lower magnification power and higher resolution for viewing the surface of solid, larger specimens. Stereo microscopes are equipped with both incident and transmitted illumination. Because of this feature, stereo microscopes may also be used for viewing translucent specimens like plants and pond water organisms. Stereo microscopes will provide a finely detailed, three-dimensional image of the specimen and are ideal for viewing coins, stamps, inspecting gems, fossils, rocks, machine and electrical components.
An SM100 Series Stereo