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A microscope is an incredibly powerful and sophisticated tool that enables even the untrained human eye to examine tiny particles, yet many people underestimate just how valuable and useful this particular scientific tool can be. In the health care industry, for instance, microscopes are routinely used to detect, examine, and identify bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. In the geological world, microscopes can assist with identifying new types of sand particles, which can lead to advances in everything from glass-making to landscaping.
When using a microscope, you’ll want to make sure you have the microscope placed on a broad, flat surface that is steady. Use a level to ensure that the surface you have chosen is indeed completely flat and not tilted, as even a slight angle can result in specimens shifting. You’ll also want to minimize any nearby lighting, as lighting sources other than what is being provided by the microscope itself can cast shadows and cause haze – both of which can result in obstructing your view.
Once your microscope is set up and turned on, tweak the diaphragm so that the largest diameter opening is being used, as this enables the most light to be cast upon whatever it is you’re examining. Use the nosepiece and swiveling head parts to provide a comfortable fit for your eyes and nose, and proceed with examining slides that you place on the microscope one at a time.
While the majority of microscopes are ready to use once they’ve been removed from their packaging, there is always room for upgrades. Available microscope accessories include:
- Objective lenses: these powerful lenses will provide the ideal amount of light and magnification for even the darkest and tiniest of specimens.
- Camera lens adapters: in some cases you may wish to use a camera lens for additional magnification; an SLR adapter would be necessary in order to attach a lens to your microscope.
- Bulbs: even today’s sophisticated LED-illuminated microscopes may require replacement bulbs; or you may simply wish to increase lighting, or choose a bulb that provides a warmer or cooler cast.
- Cleaning kit: keeping your microscope well-oiled and free of debris will ensure its longevity
storage case: when not in use, it’s best to keep your microscope in a secure storage case that is designed to stow and protect.