What Are the Different Types of Microscopes?


Quick Answer

The different types of microscopes include compound, dissection, confocal, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). These microscopes vary widely in complexity and design. Many operate using light and illumination, while others use electron scattering and produce images in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional design.

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For viewing glass slides, compound and confocal microscopes make good choices. Compound microscopes use visible light for producing two-dimensional images. These microscopes rank among the most expensive microscopes and the most frequently used. Compound microscopes produce high levels of magnification and emit low resolution. They feature mechanical focusing mechanisms and use air as an operational medium. They produce images using light absorption and let users adjust settings using magnification adjustments.

Confocal microscopes also let scientists view specimens on glass slides. They use laser light rather than visible light, which uses longer wavelengths. Images placed on the slides of confocal microscopes undergo viewing with a complex scan. This scan then transmits images to scientists in a digital format. Confocal microscopes also use air as a medium and have a digitally controlled computer focusing mechanism. These microscopes also produce two-dimensional images. SEM microscopes, however, produce three-dimensional pictures using electron illumination. They produce black and white images, and feature high magnification and high resolution for clear and accurate visual production.

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