Essay on Comparing the Light and Electron Microscope

Essay on Comparing the Light and Electron Microscope

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Comparing the Light and Electron Microscope

In this essay I am going to be comparing the light and electron
microscope, I will look at the advantages and disadvantages of each
microscope and then analyse my findings to see if one is better than
the other.

The light, or optical microscope as it is also known was invented in
the 17th century, it has been refined in many ways over the years but
it is essentially still the same. The light microscope works by; light
rays from a light source beneath the stage are through to glass lenses
in series. The two lenses are called the objective lens and the ocular
(eyepiece) lens. Depending on their strength these two lenses on their
own routinely provide magnifications of up to 400 times. There is a
limit to the amount of detail the light microscope can show, this
limit is set by the resolving power. The resolving power is the
minimum distance by which two points must be separated in order for
them to be perceived as two separate points, rather than a single
fused image. For the light microscope this distance is approximately
0.2µm. So in theory it might seem possible to magnify an object
indefinitely by means of glass lenses in series. This has been put
into practice and has only produced a larger and fuzzier picture; so
the resolution is not improved and no more detail is visible. The
resolution of the light microscope is imposed by the wavelength of
visible light, and means that little is gained by magnifying an object
more than 1500 times. This limits the amount of structural detail that
can be seen within a cell. Higher magnification with good resolution
can be obtained by using a spec...

... middle of paper ...


Cheap to purchase and operate

Expensive to purchase and operate

Small and portable- can be used almost anywhere

Very large and must be operated in special rooms

Unaffected by magnetic fields

Affected by magnetic fields

Preparation of material is relatively quick and simple, requiring only
a little expertise

Preparation of material is lengthy and requires considerable expertise
and sometimes complex equipment

Material rarely distorted by preparation

Preparation of material may distort it

Natural colour of the material can be observed

All images are black and white



Magnifies objects up to 2000x

Magnifies objects over 500,000x

The depth of the field is restricted

It is possible to investigate a greater depth of field

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