Online Lab: Microscope Simulator

Zacharias Janssen from Middleberg, Holland, has been credited as the inventor of the microscope in 1595. Although some believe his father Hans may be the original inventor of the microscope, Zacharias is recognized for the creation and production of microscopes. The Dutch families business was eyeglass making, so it is no surprise that they migrated to microscopy. The original compound microscope was a single tube with a lens at each end. The first generations of microscopes had a magnification level between 3x and 9x. Within sixty-five years, an English man by the name of Robert Hooke improved the early compound microscope. Hooke was a chemist, physicist, mathematician, and inventor who was known to have invented the Gregorian telescope and much more. Hooke published a book titled Micrographia in 1665 which was dedicated completely to microscopic observations and included detailed depictions of nonliving materials, plants, and animals with descriptions. Hooke described cork structure as being “cellulae,” which brought about the contemporary verbiage of “cell” which is now contributed to elements of tissue. Hooke is also known for uncovering the responsibility oxygen plays in the respiratory system.

A B

Drawings from Micrographia A. Structure of Cork B. Flea

Around the same time Hooke was experimenting with microscopes, a man by the name of Antonie Philips Van Leeuwenhoek was creating microscopes with one lens (monocular). He was known for constructing good quality microscopes for the particular time period (late 1660’s to early 1670’s). After reading Hooke’s Micrographia, Leeuwenhoek went on to discover, describe, and document observations of bacteria, spermatozoa, muscle fibers, infusoria, and blood flow in smaller vessels.

What are the components of a microscope and how do they work?
Base: The base is the bottom part of a microscope.

Arm: The arm is part of a microscope that connects the tube to the base. When one carries it, they should always hold the arm with one hand and support the base with their other hand.

Picture of Anton van Leeuwenhoek

Body Tube: The pipe that contains mirrors/prisms which is responsible for directing the image to the ocular lens. It includes the eyepiece one looks into. Coarse Focus Knob: This is the larger, rough textured focus knob on the side of a microscope. It moves the objective lenses toward/away from a specimen. During the online simulator program, I used the coarse focus knob in the lower power (4x) when I was looking through the microscope until the image appeared. Condenser Lens: This lens is usually mounted below the stage and serves as the light source focused onto the specimen. During the online simulator program, the condenser lens helped me view my specimen through the microscope by illuminating the specimen. Eyepiece Lens: This is the lens at the top of the microscope which one looks through.

Fine Focus Knob: This is the smaller, rough textured focus knob on the side of a microscope. During the online simulator program, I used the fine focus knob to improve the clarity of my image when I was looking through the microscope. Then I used the XY controls to move the area of interest into the center of the image while looking through the microscope. Illuminator: The illuminator is a steady light which is mounted under the stage. The most common light used is Tungsten. Iris Diaphragm: Under the stage is a rotating diaphragm with different sized holes that change the intensity of light being projected upward. During the online simulator program, I adjusted the brightness of my image while looking through the microscope. Nosepiece: This is the part that holds the objective lenses and can be rotated to change the power. During the online simulator program, I turned the ocular housing while looking at the microscope. Objective Lenses: There are usually three or four objective lenses on a microscope (4X, 10X, 40X and 100X powers). A short lens will have a lower power compared to a longer lens. During the online simulator program, I adjusted the lenses (from 4x) while looking at the microscope by moving the rotating ocular housing. Once I had the desired objective lens, I looked through the microscope to focus my specimen. Ocular Lens: The ocular lens is the eyepiece (lens at top of microscope). Some microscopes are monocular, meaning they only have one eyepiece. In the online simulator program, our microscope had two eyepieces. During the online simulator program, I adjusted the ocular lenses while looking through the microscope to get the two circles of light to merge into one. Power Switch: Button usually at the base of microscope which turns on the light source. Stage: The flat platform where you place your slides is known as the stage. Clip(s) help hold a slides in place. During the online simulator program, I adjusted the slide on the stage while looking at the microscope until the specimen was over the light. Then I used the coarse focus knob while looking at the microscope to adjust the stage. Stage Clips: Stage clips are attached to the stage and help hold the slide in place. Tube: The tube is what connects the eyepiece/ocular lens to the objective lenses.

How does a Microscope Work?
A microscope is similar to a refracting telescope, however the specimen is much closer objective lens. The slide is held in place by the clip(s) attached to the stage of the microscope. There is a mirror/light at the bottom of the microscope which illuminates the specimen on the slide. The objective lenses help to magnify images which appear even larger through the eyepiece lenses.

During the interactive microscope lab project, I took this picture looking through the ocular lenses of the microscope at 40x of a cheek cell specimen.

During the interactive microscope lab project, I took this picture looking through the ocular lenses of the microscope at 40x of an onion root tip specimen.

This picture illustrates a microscope and its components.

Conclusion
Microscopes have proven to be one of the most prolific and valuable instruments ever invented. There are several things humans cannot see with the naked eye such as bacteria, eukaryotes, protists, anthropods, fungi, and much more. Since microbes are used in foods, sewage treatment, energy, science, and warfare, it is extremely important to understand their structures and how they operate. This would not be possible without the advanced technology of microscopes. Microscopy has expanded and transformed the field of biology which has made some of the impossible challenges and illnesses facing humanity easily overcome and curable.

Works Cited
"Antonie van Leeuwenhoek." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 26 Jan 2008, 18:15 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 4 Feb 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Antonie_van_Leeuwenhoek&oldid=187067212>. Microscope World. Microscope Parts and Specifications. Accessed 4 Feb 2008. <http://www.microscopeworld.com/MSWorld/parts.aspx>. Molecular Expressions. Optical Microscopy Division of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. 13 Oct 2004. Accessed 4 Feb 2008. <http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/optics/timeline/people/janssen.html>. Southwest Local School District. Microscopes Home Page. Accessed 5Feb 2008. <http://www.southwestschools.org/jsfaculty/Microscopes/history.html>. Yes Mag: The Science Magazine for Adventurous Minds. Peter Piper Publishing. Accessed 4 Feb 2008. <http://www.yesmag.ca/how_work/microscope.html>.