Glossary | Parts
| How to buy
the Right Microscope
These definitions are intended for the layman. If you need more
technical definitions, please check with your local library or our bookstore
for a good book on microscopes.
Abbe Condenser: A simple device that condenses
and focuses the light coming from the light source. The user can adjust a
moveable Abbe Condenser, whereas one that is not moveable has a fixed focus.
A condenser is most important at 1000x and above.
Binocular: Having two eyepieces. All
stereomicroscopes and some microscopes are binocular. Since each individual
is different, our binocular scopes allow for interpupillary adjustment (eye
Diaphragm: A simple device between
the light source and the stage that is used to vary the aperture to refine
the stream of light that passes through the subject.
DIN Objective: DIN (Deutsche Industrie Normen)
represents an international standard for microscope objectives. This standard
specifies the exact threading and focal length, and insures compatibility
with lenses from any microscope manufacturer in the world. Our microscopes
with DIN lenses assure you that your scope will not be obsoleted several
years down the road by an accidently broken lens.
Eyepiece: The lens closest to the eye
when looking through a microscope or stereomicroscope. The eyepiece
is also called the occular.
Mechanical Stage: A device which
is mounted on the microscope stage, and by means of two dials allows precise
movement and positioning of the slide. A mechanical stage is most valuable
at 400x or higher where precise movement is most critical.
Objective: The lower lenses, closest
to the specimen. The objectives are fitted into the nosepiece, and
most scopes have more than one. On stereomicroscopes, there is a matched
pair of objectives (ie, you are looking through two eyepieces, and two
objectives), whereas on a compound microscope there is a just single objective
in use at any time (regardless of the number of eyepieces).
Occular: Another term for the eyepiece.
Oil Immersion: A lens that requires a drop
of special oil on the subject for use. The oil is put on the cover slip,
and the objective is actually lowered into the oil. Oil Immersion lenses
are sealed so as to not be damaged by the oil. A non-oil immersion lens should
never be lowered into immersion oil. Once you get into very high magnification,
about 1000x and beyond, you start fighting a battle with the characteristics
of light. Light travels in waves, and when you magnify something 1000
times there are fewer of those waves passing through the subject and into
the lenses (enabling you to see). Immersion oil allows you to control and
actually "bend" more of that light into the lens so that you can see. Without
the oil, you would not be able to focus on the image. Our 3089F Premium has a 100x oil immersion lens. Immersion oil is included with this microscope.
Parcentered: A microscope that is
parcentered is one in which the object in the center of view
will remain in the center when the objective is rotated.
Parfocal: A microscope that is
parfocal is one which, if it is in focus with one objective,
when the objective is rotated, will remain in focus.
Stereo Microscope: A stereo microscope
is one which provides a magnified, three-dimensional view of a visible object.
It has two eyepieces (binocular) as well as two objectives. Since you are
looking all the way through the scope using two complete sets of lenses,
your eyes are able to see the subject three dimensionally. A stereo
microscope is best used for close up examination of objects which can be
seen with the naked eye, such as stamps, coins, insects, rocks, etc. You
would not normally look at slides with a stereo microscope.
Subject: That which is being examined
under a microscope or stereomicroscope.