How Does a Microscope Work?

Even though the human eye has an exceptional ability of being able to see both small and large objects, it still got some limitations when it comes to the smallest details that it can detect. The desire of mankind to see beyond what the naked eye can possibly see has led to the development and use of different optical instruments.

One of these optical instruments is none other than the microscope. This is an instrument used to enlarge details that the unaided eye cannot and won’t be able to see. Microscopes are multiple-element systems with more than one mirror or lens.

According to, microscopes can be made using two convex lenses. The first element forms the image that becomes the second element’s object. The second element will then form its very own image that will become the object for the third element and so on. The image formed can be visualized through ray tracing. If the device is made up of thin mirrors and lenses that follow the thin lens equations, it isn’t hard to describe their behavior in terms of numbers.

How Microscopes Work

A microscope is effectively just a tube that has been packed with curved glass pieces or lenses that refract or bend the light rays that pass through them. The simplest type of microscope is the magnifying glass that was made from one convex lens that can often magnify by around 5 to 10 times.

How Does a Microscope Work

The microscopes being used in schools, professional laboratories, and homes are typically compound microscopes using a minimum of two lenses for producing a magnified image. There is a lens on top of the object known as objective lens then another lens close to your eye or what you call the ocular lens or eyepiece. In fact, all of these might be composed of a series of various lenses.

Many compound microscopes have the ability to magnify 10, 20, 40, or up to 100 times although the professional ones have the ability to magnify as much as 1000 times or even more. In order to get better magnification than this, experts and scientists often use electron microscopes.

What do microscopes really do, then? Try to a imagine a fly that sits on the table in your front. The fat and big compound eye found on the front of the fly’s head is only several millimeters across but it is composed of approximately 6,000 small segments, with each segment a small functioning eye in miniature.

In order to see the eye of the fly in detail, the human eye needs to process details millimeters divided into thousands or even millionths of a meter or often called microns. Your eyes might be good but they are still not that good.

To study the eye of the fly really well, you will need it to be around 4 to 4 inches or 10 to 100 centimeters across or the kind of size it will be in a nice large photo. It is exactly the job of a microscope. With the use of glass lenses that are precisely made, it takes the light rays that are minutely spread coming from something small like the eye of a fly then spreads these apart for them to look like they come from a much larger object.