Compound Microscope Anatomy Components Condenser

Compound Microscope Structure

compound microscope structure

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Compound Microscope Definition Parts and Functions

The compound microscope has various parts, and each of these parts has its functions. The parts of the microscope and their functions are given below-

  1. A compound microscope has multiple lenses. These lenses collect light from the object and then focus the light into the eyes. These microscopes can magnify very small objects into such sizes that can clearly show the smallest details of the object.
  2. There are three major parts of the compound microscope a body tube, an objective lens, and an eyepiece. The body tube connects the eyepiece lens and the objective lens. The lens closer to the object is objective, and it has a short focal length which is usually below 1 cm. The lens nearer to the eye is called eyepiece, though it too has a short focal length, it still is bigger than the objective length.
  3. There is a revolving nose piece known as a turret that is attached to the lower end of the objective. The turret can be rotated to change the power magnification as necessary.
  4. Below the objective, there is a flat platform which is known as the stage. In the non-mechanical stage, there are two stage clips that hold the slide on the stage.
  5. There is a small aperture present in the stage that allows the light into the body.
  6. The body tube is arranged on an arm which is connected to the base. This arm helps the body to tilt.
  7. There is a small mirror, and the base of the microscope helps to reflect the light through the microscope.
  8. Above the mirror, there is an iris diaphragm that helps in controlling the amount of light that passes into the stage aperture.

Compound Microscope vs. Electron Microscope

Every microscope has its features and purposes. Compound and electron microscope are way too different from each other and they even used by different levels of users. The basic differences between these two are given below-

User-friendly: A compound microscope is user-friendly because it is easy to use and does not require any technical knowledge.

But electron microscope requires technical skills to use it.

Specimens: A compound microscope can view both types of a tiny specimen. But electron microscope can only view dead specimen.

Surface view: A compound microscope has a poor surface view, but an electron microscope has a great surface view that shows good internal details.

Source of viewing: Compound microscope uses light rays to view the specimens, but the electron microscope uses beams of electrons to view the specimens.

Lens types: Compound microscope uses glass lenses for viewing the specimens, but the electron microscope uses electromagnetic lenses.

Magnification: A compound microscope has lower magnifications power tan electron microscope. Its magnification power can be at most 1500x whereas electron microscope’s magnification power can be of 1000000x.

Resolution: Compound microscope has a lower resolving power compared to an electron microscope. Its resolving power can be up to 0.30µm whereas electron microscope has higher resolving power which can be up to 0.0001µm.

Screen: The specimens are viewed through a projection screen in a compound microscope. But in electron microscope fluorescent screen is used to view them.

Voltage: Though the compound microscope does not need high voltage electricity, electron microscope uses high voltage electricity.

Cooling system: Compound microscope does not require any cooling system like an electron microscope.

Vacuum: Compound microscope is not used under vacuum, but electron microscope is operated under vacuum.

Radiation leakage: There is no risk of radiation leakage in a compound microscope, but electron microscope does have risks for radiation leakage.

Compound Microscope vs. Simple Microscope

Compound and simple microscope differ from each other, and their names state the main difference between them. However, some key differences between compound and simple microscope are given below:

Lens: Compound microscope has two lenses- one is the eyepiece lens, and another one is the objective lens. But simple microscope only has one lens to magnify the objects.

Magnification: Compound microscope has a higher level of magnification. Its total magnification is the multiplication of the objective and eyepiece lenses magnification. On the other hand, a simple microscope’s magnification is only its single lens’s magnification.

Use: Compound microscope can be used for living and dead specimens. But a simple microscope is used for simple purposes such as enlarging the letters of a book etc.

Condenser lens: Condenser lens is present in the compound microscope, unlike the simple microscope.

Adjustments: Compound microscope has coarse adjustments screw, and fine adjustments screw to make the image-friendly to the eye. But simple microscope has only one adjustment screw for focusing the object.

Compound Microscope Advantages and Disadvantages

Well, which thing doesn’t have a few disadvantages along with its various advantages? Scientific discoveries are not absolute, and that’s why there is constant updating every discovery. So, compound microscope to have some advantages along with some disadvantages.


  • Affordable: Compound or light microscope is affordable than any other microscopes. Its uses and importance beat the other microscopes’ prices.
  • Easy to use: Compound microscope uses light, and it does not need any artificial light. Natural lights are enough to function correctly.
  • Weight: It is lightweight as it has no unnecessary components attached to it. Its small size and lightweight makes it easy to carry.
  • Zooming: Compound microscopes’ ability to zoom in the items is greater than any other microscope.
  • Quality: It uses a spectrum of light which gives a cognizable vision to the human eye. Its observation quality is natural and it shows images without any alteration.


  • Magnification: Though it gives a good level of magnification, it is limited to magnify fifteen hundred to two thousand times of the specimens actual sizes. For smaller specimens, it does not magnify as much as an electron microscope.
  • Advanced features: Compound microscope only uses white light where other microscopes such as fluorescent or electron microscope use advanced features, i.e., using the red and green marker, showing 3D features of cell surfaces, etc.

Compound Microscope Condenser

The condenser in a compound microscope plays a great role to show the perfect image of the specimen. It is situated under the base and mainly used to control the light that comes from the illuminator. It controls how much light can go through the aperture giving the hold to adjust the intensity of the light.

In bright field microscopy, it simply adjusts the light, but in dark field microscopy, it regulates the contrast. If it was not present in the microscopy, the viewer had to depend on the light that the apparatus allows to highlight the specimen.

In this case, the viewer could not control the light, and thus the image would not pop out with enough light that the eye can tolerate.

Compound Microscope Field Of View

How much can you see from a compound microscope? Well, it depends on your handling of the microscope. When you are using a high power microscope, you should use it from the lowest magnification to the highest magnification.

This process ensures that you will be able to focus on the part you mostly need to observe. When you focus on the object slowly from low to high power, you will get the best results.

In a compound microscope, you will be able to see the bacteria, blood cells, and different protozoan. You can even magnify them to see more closely. In different magnification, you will be able to see different sizes:

  • 40x magnification= 5 mm
  • 100x magnification= 2 mm
  • 400x magnification= 0.45 mm
  • 1000x magnification= 0.180 mm

Compound Microscope How It Works

Though its name sounds like it requires great effort to use it, in actual sense, compound microscope works simply. It does not require any technical skill to view specimens with it.

A compound microscope has various parts that work together to give the perfect image of the specimen that the naked eye cannot see. The way it works is pretty simple and clear. So how it works? It follows some steps to reach your eye from the tiny sizes to the bigger images.

  1. When the specimen is placed in the stage, the light hits the specimen.
  2. As the objective can be adjusted, when the viewer adjusts the objective to see the object, he even adjusts the condenser, illuminator to control the light focus on the specimen.
  3. The objective lens then creates a real inverted image of the object which later acts as the object for the eyepiece lens. The eyepiece lens then adjusted focusing the inverted image created by the objective in such a way that the inverted image lies within the focus of the eyepiece. The eyepiece then functions as a magnifying glass and forms a virtual, erect and magnified image of the object.

Things To Follow While Using A Compound Microscope

There are some basic things that you need to keep in mind while using a compound microscope. Don’t worry, it’s not that will cause you harm, but these are certain instructions that we need to follow to avoid any kind of damage to the devices we use.

  • While using it make sure that all kinds of backpacks are out of the desk where you have placed your microscope.
  • While carrying the microscope keep it closer to your body and hold it with one hand on the arm and another on the base.
  • Be gentle with the microscope.
  • A compound microscope has several lenses; you should not set it down roughly. Otherwise, all lenses and other parts can get loose.
  • Start from the lowest power of the objective to get a better view.
  • You should always place the specimen in the center of the slide.

Microscope Picture

Best Microscope For Viewing Bacteria

A Compound Microscope Is Used For

So who uses a compound microscope the most? Well, as you have already read the various uses of a compound microscope, you have already developed the idea who can use this microscope.

From school and college going students to the forensic professional, the compound microscope is used for almost every field of study. It is also the best microscope for the hobbyist who loves to detect the minute details of nature.

Compound Microscope Magnification

The magnification of a compound microscope is expressed in diameters. A lens magnifying an object ten times has a magnification of ten diameters and is written as 10x. Total magnification = magnifying power of the objective x magnifying power of the eyepiece for example if an objective has 50x magnification and the eyepiece has 10x magnification, then the magnifying power of the microscope is 500x.

Compound Microscope Resolution

Resolution is a vital feature of any microscope. If the shortest distance between each part of an object cannot be understood clearly from a microscope, its resolution is poor. Resolution is what that increases the image quality.

The resolution power depends on two things-the wavelengths of light that have been used and the numerical aperture of the objective.

To determine the wavelength, you should remember that shorter wavelength offers good resolution. Near ultraviolet light can give the greatest resolution as it has the shortest wavelength. The ascending order of wavelength is violet, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.

The numerical aperture indicates the ability of the lens to collect light and to come at a resolved point from the lens. The higher number indicates a greater ability of lens that can define the smallest part of the object.

Microscope Optical Quality

A microscope is all about the lenses. It contains two sets of lenses; the objective lens and the eyepiece. If both of the optics doesn’t hold the quality, it means it is good for nothing. The objective lens is basically an achromatic lens. Different color refract through that lens. If it doesn’t hold the quality, it will fail to show the actual result.

Achromatic lenses can’t satisfy some of the consumers. They expect better quality object for their microscope. For them, the semi-plan or plan objective can meet their requirements.

Microscope Construction Quality

Quality stuff is being always a bit expensive but an expensive one does not contain quality all the time; Confusing but true. So when you are getting a microscope, be straight to the reputed brands. There are some well-known Japanese and German Brands.

The low-quality microscope is made of some inferior materials. It results less lifetime and minimum optical quality. So try to avoid the microscope that made of cheap plastic material. Only a high quality constructed microscope can meet all the requirements and perform satisfyingly.