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Experiment 22: The Compound Microscope

Equipment Needed:

- Optics Bench, Light Source

- -150 mm Focal Length Convex Lens
- Component Holders (2)
- 75 mm Focal Length Convex
- Variable Aperture
- Viewing Screen


A compound microscope uses two lenses to provide greater magnification of near objects than
is possible using a single lens as a magnifier. The setup is shown in Figure 22.1. The objective lens, L,
functions as a projector. The objects is placed just beyond the focal point of L1 so a real, magnified,
inverted image is formed. The eyepiece L2, functions as a magnifier. It forms an enlarged virtual image of
the real image projected by L1.

The real image that is projected by L1 is magnified by an amount m=-di/d0, as indicated by the
Fundamental Lens Equation. That image is in turn magnified by the eyepiece by a factor of 25 cm/f (see
Experiment 20: The Magnifier). The combined magnification, is therefore:

= ( /0 )(25/).

Set up the microscope as shown in Figure 22.1. Use the 75 mm focal length lens as the objective
lens and the 150 mm focal length as the eyepiece. Begin with the objective lens approximately 150 mm
away from the object (the Viewing Screen). Adjust the position of the eyepiece until you see a clearly
focused image of the Viewing Screen scale.

1. Is the image magnified? How does the magnification compare to using 75 mm focal length lens alone,
as a simple magnifier?

The Image is magnified. It is magnified more than a 75 mm lens would have made it, though not by
much. The equation, m = (-di/d-o) , taken from the fundamental lens equation, is then magnified again
by the eyepiece, leaving the total magnification as M=(-di/d-o)*(25 cm/f). The image magnification with
the lens it therefore larger than it was without it..
= 150( )(25/)
2. Why does the magnification increase as the objective lens is moved closer to the object?

The magnification increases because when the object is closer, magnification from the 75 mm lens
becomes greater. Judging by the fundamental lens equation, when do decreases, magnification
increases dramatically, up until they are 75 mm away from each other, and the image disappears.
3. What focusing problems develop as the magnification increases?

As magnification increases, focusing the lens becomes a harder task. It has to be focused delicately, in
general, for a good image to be shown. The color aberrations also become prominent at high
magnifications.Use the variable Aperture to restrict the path of the light to the central regions of the
objective lens. Vary the size of the aperture and observe the effects on focusing.

4. What effect does the aperture have on focusing?

If light is being refracted from the sides of the lens, color aberration is prominent. The rays are being
bent more, so the colors will be more displaced as well. With a small aperture however, the aberration
goes down significantly, leading to higher magnifications.

5. What effect does the aperture have on the brightness of the image?

Because less overall light is getting in, the general amount of light decreases, though it is slightly easier
to see the image when there is slightly less lights.

6. What advantage would there be in using a 75 mm focal length as the eyepiece?

If you want a larger magnification.

Theory and Conclusion

Using the fundamental lens equation, it is found that the magnification of the lens is a product of the
magnification of both the lenses. Lenses with smaller focus distances will have overall, a higher
magnification. Color aberration is prominent when using lens of high magnifications, and only gets
confounded when combined with other lenses, which is what makes up a compound microscope. The
way to solve this is to allow for a small opening for the lens, reducing the amount of light entering the