Using a microscope How to focus

Monday, July 16, 2018

How to focus a microscope

Learn how to focus on a basic compound microscope and open up a whole new microscopic world.

I have used a microscope in my Life Science class for over 15 years and have become an expert at focusing them.

Step 1. Place the prepared slide on the stage of the microscope. The stage contains clips that help secure the slide. I use these clips unless I'm focusing on pond water and then I don't use the slides  so that I can move the slide around.

Step 2. Spin the nosepiece around until the lowest power lens clicks into place. Each lens is a different power and is labeled and has a different color. The lowest power will be the smallest lens. The low power lens is the easiest lens to focus on. As you spin the nosepiece you should be able to feel the lens click into place. This makes sure that the lens is in the correct position.

How do you determine the magnification?
Multiply the ocular lens strength times the objective lens strength.
Look on the ocular lens to determine the strength or look in the manual. Most compound microscopes are 10x.

Each lens will also have the power magnification written on it. In this example, I will use 40x.

10x times 40x = 400x

Step 3. Look through the ocular lens and use the coarse adjustment to begin to focus the microscope.
If the specimen is dark or black you may need to turn on the power or adjust the light.

Step 4. When the specimen is close to being in focus you then can start using the fine adjustment to get the slide really clear and focused.

The coarse adjustment knob is usually larger than the fine adjustment.

Step 5. Use the diaphragm to adjust the light. The diaphragm is located under the stage and many people ignore this adjustment. It can make a big difference.

At this point, the specimen should be clear and crisp looking.

A couple items you can use to practice focusing.
Grab a newspaper or magazine and cut out a letter like an "e".
Use some clear tape and start looking at the letter. 

If you live near a pond or lake you can get some pond water. Try to get a little dirt with your water. Place a couple of drops on the slide. 
You may be amazed at what you may see.

You can look at some of your hair, a thin section of fabric, or anything else thin enough for light to pass through.


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top