Using a microscope can be more complicated than it looks. While many beginners think that it’s as simple as placing a sample underneath the microscope, turning the lamp on and taking a look through the eyepiece, there is much more to it and there are all kinds of mistakes that beginners make when they use microscopes for the first time. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most common mistakes that you should be mindful of before you start using a microscope.
Mistake 1: Looking at a sample without a cover slip.
Before you look at a sample under a microscope, make sure that you are using a cover slip on your slide. If you fail to use one, the quality of the image seen through the microscope will be lower. Not using a slip can also change the focal distance, as well, notes Microbe Hunter Microscopy Magazine, which can cause even more issues with trying to adjust the focus on an improperly prepared sample.
Mistake 2: Using fine focus adjustment too frequently.
Many first-time microscope users turn the fine focus adjustment more times than they should while trying to focus. This may end up creating an issue if these adjustments end up sending the high-power objective of their microscope into – or even through – the slide. This can result in damage to both the microscope and the slide, so instruct first-timers to be careful of their adjustments and to be aware of their slide and lens locations.
Mistake 3: Using high magnification right away to view a sample.
When you use a microscope, the goal is to magnify the image of your sample as much as possible in most cases. However, you don’t want to magnify it too much right away. By teaching students to resist the urge to zoom right in, they can take a more complete view of a given sample or specimen, allowing them to then place their focus on a particular feature or element of interest. Instruct beginners to start with lower magnification and zoom in later once they have examined their sample.
Mistake 4: Moving the microscope around without turning off the lamp first.
The lamp on a microscope will heat up very quickly once it’s turned on, and if the microscope is moved with the lamp on repeatedly, it could reduce the lifespan of the lamp. Allowing the lamp to cool before moving the microscope can prolong the life of your microscope lamp, meaning fewer replacements and a more consistent experience.
Absolute Clarity & Calibration offers a large selection of microscopes for classrooms and educational settings. Whether you are in the market for a new or used microscope, a specific specialized type of microscope, or even need service for your current device, we can help. Call us at 860-583-0502 today to discover how we can help you with all of your microscope needs.