30 Nov

Student Microscope

The holiday shopping season is a great time to buy a student microscope as a gift.  Before you become overwhelmed with the information on the internet it is important to become familiar with the different components of a good student microscope.  There are many microscopes offered at low prices however they are typically made of plastic and come with a mirror instead of a built in light.  A good student microscope must offer educational value to the user and without proper illumination resolution will be poor making it difficult to see the specimen.  In addition to built in illumination a mechanical stage will make life easier for the user as it will allow for the precise control of moving the slide left/right and front/back.  Some microscopes are monocular (one eyepiece) while others are binocular (two eyepieces).  A binocular microscope will reduce eye strain.  The final feature you want to evaluate is the overall magnification of the microscope.  What objectives are included?  Most microscopes will include 4x, 10x, and 40x objectives and some will include the 100x objective.  The 100x oil immersion objective is suited for applications involving microorganisms such as bacteria ( typically high school level ).  Remember that a student microscope is not a toy however it will be used to advance one’s education.