What Is a Compound Light Microscope?

A compound light microscope uses lenses to collect light to view objects on a slide. The microscope magnifies the object so that the smallest structures are visible.

The microscope was created by Zacharias Janssen in the late 16th century. Prior to the invention of the microscope, the details of objects on slides were limited. Single microscopes were similar to using a magnifying glass.

The compound microscope works by enhancing the image that is projected by the first lens with a second lens and light. There is an additional set of lenses that are on the nosepiece. Modern microscopes can magnify objects up to 2,000 times the original size.