Microscope Types & Principles
Main Types of Microscopes
The table below describes the main types of microscopes within the optical, electron, and scanning probe categories.
|Optical microscope||Binocular stereoscopic microscope||A microscope that allows easy observation of 3D objects at low magnification.|
|Brightfield microscope||A typical microscope that uses transmitted light to observe targets at high magnification.|
|Polarizing microscope||A microscope that uses different light transmission characteristics of materials, such as crystalline structures, to produce an image.|
|Phase contrast microscope
-> What is a phase contrast microscope?
|A microscope that visualizes minute surface irregularities by using light interference. It is commonly used to observe living cells without staining them.|
|Differential interference contrast microscope||This microscope, similar to the phase contrast, is used to observe minute surface irregularities but at a higher resolution. However, the use of polarized light limits the variety of observable specimen containers.|
-> What is a fluorescence microscope?
|A biological microscope that observes fluorescence emitted by samples by using special light sources such as mercury lamps. When combined with additional equipment, brightfield microscopes can also perform fluorescence imaging.|
|Total internal reflection fluorescence microscope||A fluorescence microscope that uses an evanescent wave to only illuminate near the surface of a specimen. The region that is viewed is generally very thin compared to conventional microscopes. Observation is possible in molecular units due to reduced background light.|
(Laser scanning confocal microscope)
-> What is a laser scanning confocal microscope?
|This microscope uses laser beams for clear observation of thick samples with different focal distances.|
|Multiphoton excitation microscope||The use of multiple excitation lasers reduces damage to cells and allows high-resolution observation of deep areas. This type of microscope is used to observe nerve cells and blood flow in the brain.|
|Structured illumination microscope
-> What is a structured illumination microscope?
|A high-resolution microscope with advanced technology to overcome limited resolution found in optical microscopes that is caused by the diffraction of light.|
|Electron microscope||Transmission electron microscope (TEM), scanning electron microscope (SEM), etc.||These microscopes emit electron beams, not light beams, toward targets to magnify them.|
|Scanning probe microscope (SPM)||Atomic force microscope (AFM), scanning near-field optical microscope (SNOM), etc.||This microscope scans the surface of samples with a probe and this interaction is used to measure fine surface shapes or properties.|
|Others||X-ray microscope, ultrasonic microscope, etc.|
In addition to the above categories, optical microscopes can be classified as follows:
Classification by application
|Biological microscope||With a magnification ranging from 50x to 1,500x, this microscope uses sliced samples that are fixed onto slides for observation.|
|(Binocular) stereoscopic microscope||The binocular system allows 3D observation of samples, such as insects or minerals, in their natural state without the need to be sliced. The magnification ranges from 10x to 50x.|
Classification by structure
|Upright microscope||Observes targets from above. This type of microscope is used to observe specimens on slides.|
|Inverted microscope||Observes targets from below. This microscope is used to observe, for example, cells soaked with culture in a dish.|