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Updated on December 13, 2012

Microscopy is the use of microscopes.

For AS level biology you must know how to use a microscope and the differences between:

Light Microscope - Light microscopes shine light through a number of lenses to produce a enlarged image that can be seen directly at the eye piece.
A Light Microscope has three lenses:
An objective lens, this focuses the beam of light. Generally there are three objective lenses on each light microscope, to view specimen at different magnifications.
The eyepiece lens this normally has a x 10 magnification.

To calculate the magnification you are viewing a specimen at you multiply the objective lens by the eyepiece lens.
There is also condenser lens, under the specimen.

Transmission Electron Microscope

Electron Microscopes use electrons fired through the specimen because of this the specimen must be dead. The electrons pass through different densities at different speeds this gives the image contrast, the image created is in grey scale and 2D.

Scanning Electron Microscope

Again this uses electron beams fired at the specimen but in this case the electrons 'bounce off' the specimen. The image produced is still in grey scale but is 3D.




Magnification is the number of times larger an image is than the object.

You can calculate magnification using the formula:


Actual Size
Image Size


Resolution, this is the ability to distinguish two separate points as distinct from each other.

The higher the resolution the more detail that can be seen.

Similarities and Differences of Microscopes

(click column header to sort results)
Light Microscope  
Transmission Electron Microscope  
Scanning Electron Microscope  
Magnification Possible
X 1,400
X 500,000
X 100,000
Resolution Possible
200 nm
0.2 nm
0.2 nm
Image is in


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    • loquacious-mare profile image

      Phoebe 5 years ago from Isle of Wight

      Ahh thanks I'll go back and check it, I published it in a rush! Won't do that again :/

    • TFScientist profile image

      Rhys Baker 5 years ago from Peterborough, UK

      Content is good but there are loads of spelling and grammatical mistakes. For example, it is a transmission EM, not a transition