A microscope is an instrument used to see objects that are too small for the human eye. They use light to make objects look bigger, higher resolution, and more detailed than they would be if you just looked at them with your own eyes. There are many kinds of microscopes based on the type of image data they produce. Basically, they are divided into single and compound microscopes. Whereas a simple microscope just has one lens, a compound microscope has multiple lenses. Microscopes have a tiny mirror inside each lens and allow two images to overlap in order for one image to be created. This allows for brighter, clearer and more detailed images than are possible with traditional microscopes.
Before starting using your microscopes, there are some facts about microscopes you should know to broaden your knowledge. In fact, they have contributed to many sectors, especially science and health. In case you are also curious about the history of microscopes, you will find some interesting facts in the list below. Let’s jump to the list!
1. The First Microscopes Were Used To Study Insects
Scientists and academics may now examine the minute organisms that are present all around them thanks to the creation of the microscope. However, do you know what the first microscopes were used for? The very first microscopes were used to study insects, and they were nicknamed ‘flea glasses’.
Flea glasses were first used to study insects and other small life forms in the 1500s, not for medicinal purposes. The first compound microscope was developed by Zacharias and Han Jansen, a father-son team. Magnification ranges of 6x to 10x were possible using the small, convex lens held closest to the eye and a bigger, flat lens at the other end of the short metal tube.
2. The Term Of Microscope Was Taken To Honor Galileo Galilei
The term “microscope” combines the two terms “micro,” which means small, and “scope,” which means view. Because they just featured one lens, early microscopes like Leeuwenhoek’s were referred to as basic. Like the magnifying glasses you have seen and used, simple scopes function similarly. However, did you know how the device got its name? In order to honor Galileo Galilei’s compound microscope, Giovanni Faber coined the name “microscope” in 1625.
Several Dutch lens makers created magnifying devices in the late 16th century, but Galileo Galilei created the first one known as a microscope in 1609. Before that, the simple microscope was only called the eyepiece. In the 13th century, grinding glass for eyeglasses and magnifying glasses was a widespread practice.
3. The First Cell Discovery With Microscope
One of the first scientists to examine living creatures under a microscope was Hooke. With the aid of a microscope, Robert Hooke made the initial discovery of the cell in 1665. From his discovery, the term “cell” was first used to describe these minuscule forms of life. Hooke noticed box-shaped objects when studying cork, which he referred to as “cells”.
Later, the 1830s work of Theodor Schwann and Matthias Jakob Schleiden is seen as the beginning of the cell hypothesis. This theory consists of three components. All organisms are composed of cells, according to the first section. The basic building blocks of life are cells, according to the second section.The third part claims that cells originate from preexisting cells that have multiplied.
4. The First Single Lens Microscopes Can Magnify Up To 270 Times
In the 1670s, Dutch scientist Antoine van Leeuwenhoek created powerful single lens microscopes. He was the first to characterize human and canine sperm or spermatozoa with these. Additionally, he researched yeast, red blood cells, oral bacteria, and protozoa.
The single lens microscopes invented by Van Leeuwenhoek could magnify objects up to 270 times their original size. As all types of microscopes advanced, single lens microscopes continued to be widely used far into the 1830s. Early compound microscopes magnified objects more than single lens microscopes, but the image was also more blurry.
5. Tuberculosis Bacteria Discovered By Koch’s Microscopes
Robert Koch was a prominent figure in science who dedicated his life to learning about some of the world’s tiniest organisms, such as the bacteria that cause tuberculosis. He discovered the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, and his discoveries were published in 1876. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1905 for his work as the first person in history to identify a microbe that causes sickness.
By using microscopes, he researched hygiene and epidemics and made the connection between bacterial agents and the spread of disease. His theories contributed to increasing life expectancy and improved health for people all over the world, two developments that still serve as the foundation for contemporary microbiology.
6. The First Hand Drawn Micrograph Published On The Book
A man by the name of Robert Hooke wrote a book in 1665 that had illustrations of samples seen via a microscope that were drawn by hand. Micrographia was the title of his book. He first coined the term “cell” to describe the tiny honeycomb chambers in cork, along with his research and pictures of the crystal structure of snowflakes.
In the book, the radula or “mouth” of mollusks, the foot of the fly, the stinger of a bee, and the structure of feathers were all meticulously documented by Hooke. In addition, he discussed the tissue of trees and plants’ function is to transport substances through the plant as he noted that some tissues had liquid-filled cells while others had empty ones.
7. Electron Microscopes Produces Higher Image Resolution
The resolution of electron microscopes has far outperformed that of optical microscopes, allowing for the observation of objects as small as an atom. Since electrons have a far shorter wavelength than visible light, they can produce images with higher resolution than traditional light microscopes. In the first decade of the 1930s, German scientist Ernst Ruska created the transmission electron microscope (TEM). Siemens created the first commercial TEM in 1939, meanwhile. Around the same time as the TEM’s development, the scanning electron microscope (SEM) also began to take shape.
In fact, the electron and X-rays were discovered side by side in the late 19th century. The electron lens theory was consequently proposed at the end of the 1920s. Using these short wavelength beams as the light source led to the early 20th century creation of greater resolution microscopes.
8. The Importance Of Prism In Binocular Microscopes
A prism is present in binocular microscopes. It can be found in the body tube or the head of the instrument. The prism corrects the image’s orientation and creates an upright image that is acceptable for human eye gazing. Using prisms in a pair of binoculars also helps shorten their overall length. The binocular gets smaller as a prism shortens the path of light and bends its rays.
Prisms are also used in modern microscopes with binocular eyepiece tubes to shift the line of sight from vertical to a more practical 45-degree angle. Optical wedges are circular prisms with plane surfaces that are slightly angled with regard to one another. They refract light instead of reflecting it.
9. You Don’t See The Real Image Via Microscope
Did you know that a microscope cannot provide the real image of a specimen? The virtual image of the specimen, which is projected by the lenses to the area below the eyepiece, is what the observer sees when looking through the microscope oculars rather than the actual specimen. How is it possible for this to occur?
In fact, the traditional compound microscope magnifies twice. Initially, using an objective lens creates a larger version of the item in a “real” image plane. Real images are created because light rays truly pass through the area where the image is located, creating an upside-down, enlarged image. The ocular lens or eyepiece then magnifies this real image to create the virtual image.
10. The Smallest Sample Can Be Observed Under Microscope
Atom is the smallest object you can observe under a microscope, whose size is 0.1 nanometer. This technique is called scanning tunneling microscope (STM). The STM technology “sees” atoms using electrons rather than light, which is how most microscopes see objects. Although the microscopic scale is anticipated to include even smaller things as electron microscope technology advances, anything smaller is below the current resolution limit of the instrument.
Meanwhile, the smallest sample that can be seen clearly under a light microscope is a 500 nanometer long item. Though smaller objects can be seen, a light microscope’s use of wave-like light makes it difficult to distinguish them properly.
11. The Most Powerful Microscopes In The World
The most powerful microscope ever created, TEAM 5.0, cost $27 million in 2008. It is the most potent microscope in the world since it can produce images with a resolution of half a hydrogen atom’s width. It has been set up at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s NCEM, the Department of Energy’s National Center for Electron Microscopy.
The core systems of TEAM 0.5 are functional. A cutting-edge control room display that displays the sample under the microscope on a flat surface that resembles a wide-screen, high-definition TV is one of its interesting extra features.
12. Atomic Force Microscope For High Resolution Sample Surface
Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is a high-resolution non-optical imaging technique first introduced by Binnig, Quate and Gerber in 1985. It has since grown into an effective measurement instrument for surface analysis. In air, liquids, or ultra-high vacuum, AFM enables precise and non-destructive measurements of the topographical, electrical, magnetic, chemical, optical, mechanical, etc. properties of a sample surface. In the most cutting-edge research and technology facilities around the world, AFM is vital due to this special mix of skills.
A sharp probe is mechanically moved across a surface using an atomic force microscope (AFM), and a computer records the motion of the probe. The motion of the probe is then used to reconstruct the surface in three dimensions.
13. Taste Bud And Red Blood Cells First Discovered With Microscopes
Marcello Marpighi was the first scientist who discovered taste buds and red blood cells. He made the discovery of taste buds, or papillae, in 1662 while using microscopes to study human tongues. He defined the little brain, optic nerve, and fat reservoir structure as well as the taste buds as nerve terminations.
Furthermore, he was the first to observe red blood cells in 1666. He also claimed that red blood cells were responsible for the color of blood. He later became recognized as the Father of Microscopic Anatomy.
14. Carls Zeiss And His Microscope Lens Quality Revolution
High-resolution observations were difficult to make until the late 1800s due to optical distortion, hazy pictures, and inadequate lens construction, which hindered early microscopists. A mechanic by the name of Carl Zeiss founded his own company in the German university town of Jena, Thuringia, during this era of untold technological advancements with the intention of offering researchers high-quality instruments. The first true compound microscope, known as the Stativ 1, was created by the Zeiss workshop in 1857 and combined practical usefulness with expert optical refining from a craftsman.
Furthermore, they unveiled a brand-new illumination tool in 1869 with the intention of enhancing microscope illumination. A few years later, Zeiss was manufacturing a line of 17 distinct objectives, including three immersion systems, all with previously unheard-of levels of image quality.
15. The Highest Resolution Microscopes
High resolution images are essential for a microscope. Did you know what the highest resolution microscope in the world is? According to a study published on July 18th, 2018 at Cornell University (USA), Ithaca, USA, the highest resolution microscope measures up to 0.39 ngströms. Ptychography, a process where electrons flow through an object to create a succession of 2D diffraction patterns, was used by the record-breaking microscope.
Once the patterns appear, there is enough data in the image to reconstruct the original diffraction object’s appearance by working backwards. Computational algorithms are required for information reversal. The researchers are the first to demonstrate how ptychography may be used to image objects with higher resolution than is possible with a traditional electron microscope lens.