If you’re looking to add a new microscope to your lab, you’ve likely discovered it’s not always easy to figure out the best model for your needs. You can begin to narrow down your choices by identifying exactly what you’ll be viewing with the new equipment. Once you’ve done that, the other pieces will fall in place.
Here are a few things to consider.
You’ll be using the microscope frequently, so make sure you choose one that’s made of durable materials, such as metallic alloys, and that all joints are fastened with metal screws. The microscope’s finish should be resistant to reagents and easily cleaned. Once purchased, make sure to add the equipment to your lab’s preventive maintenance list.
You’ll see many lighting options when buying a microscope, including fluorescent, incandescent tungsten-halogen halogen bulbs, and LED illuminators.
Tungsten-halogen bulbs can become hot during use. By comparison, fluorescent and LED lighting systems emit low heat, which makes them better choices for viewing samples that may be affected by the environment.
3. The Stage
A mechanical stage is usually a better choice than a manual one, especially when viewing at high magnifications. Mechanical stages allow easier slide adjustment in a fine differential, making the tracking of moving organisms more effective.
4. Digital Microscopes
Digital microscopes can be compound or stereo. They allow users to capture video or still images for display on a computer. These microscopes contain software for zoom, time-lapse photography, editing, and special effects.
5. Compound or Stereo?
The choice between a compound or stereo microscope depends on what you’ll be viewing. Stereo microscopes are used to view larger 3-D objects like insects, minerals, or mechanical pieces. Compound microscopes are better suited for applications involving high magnification for forensic or biology labs, such as viewing tissue samples and cells.
Compound microscopes can be monocular or binocular, and usually feature several objective lenses that can be selected to increase magnification.
Stereo microscopes are a popular choice for the classroom and the hobbyist because they’re easier to set up and use. However, for the close-up magnification required in most laboratory settings, a compound microscope is the better choice.
6. Chromatic Aberration Correction
The most common objective for lab microscopes is the achromatic objective. These are corrected for aberrations in the blue and red wavelengths and are also spherically corrected for green. While the most affordable option, its limited correction can lead to artifacts. Note that If the objective isn’t specified, it is achromatic.
Semi-apochromats, or fluorites, are the second objectives on this list. While more expensive than achromatic objectives, they have additional spherical corrections for blue. Fluorites are a better choice for recording and color viewing.
Apochromats are the most expensive objective, but they’re the most highly corrected of the three options. These are chromatically adjusted for blues and dark blues, red, and green. They’re spherically corrected for blue, deep blue, and green. The apochromatic is by far the superior choice for color viewing.
Look for objectives that boast plan correction, as these offer a 90% flat display for a larger field of vision.
New or Used?
One consideration when buying your microscope is price. If your budget is more limited, you can purchase a refurbished, used microscope from BaneBio. We can even purchase your older microscope, or take it in trade for your new purchase.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. With over 14 years of experience, we have the expertise to help you choose the perfect microscope for your lab and your teams.