How to Manipulate a Microscope

By Michael E Carpenter

Microscopes are complicated pieces of scientific instrumentation used for viewing small objects in great detail. Using a microscope is not very difficult. There are a number of manipulations to the mechanisms on the microscope that will bring the object into focus, change the magnification of the microscope and allow you to change the light contrast to allow additional details to be seen.

Things You'll Need

  • Slides
  • Immersion oil

Step 1

Set up the microscope on a flat surface. Always carry the microscope using two hands if the microscope must be transported from one area to another. One hand should support the bottom while the other hand is holding the arm. Once in place, remove the any covers and plug in the microscope.

Step 2

Position the slide onto the stage. Clip it into or under the slide holders. Turn on the light from the illuminator under the stage. Center the slide the best way possible without using any focusing knobs or the eyepiece.

Step 3

Look through the eyepiece, keeping both eyes open to avoid eye strain, while using the course focus knob to bring the stage and slide closer to the objective, which is the lens that extends below the eyepiece, until the object can be seen through the eyepiece. Use the fine focus knob (which will also be on the side of the microscope) to bring the image into sharper focus.

Step 4

Center the object being viewed. Change the iris diaphragm under the stage using the level to open and close the iris. Change the amount of light entering the specimen as needed. Changing the amount of light going through the slide may show additional details not seen at higher light levels.

Step 5

Change to the 10X objective which is the next longest lens by rotating the lens pieces. The object should appear larger and only require using the fine focus knob to bring it into sharper detail. Use the iris diaphragm to change the amount of light entering the slide. Continue to the 40X objective and repeat. Each time the object will appear larger and you will be able to see less of the object at any one time while viewing.

Step 6

Lower the stage and add one or two drops of immersion oil to the slide. Change the microscope to the 100X objective. Slowly raise the stage using the course focus until the objective is touching the oil. Use the fine focus knob to bring the object into sharp focus. Clean the slide and objective with lens tissue after use.

Step 7

Return the stage to the lowest level. Change the objective back to the 4X lens. Unplug the machine and replace any covers. Carefully return the microscope using both hands to where it is stored.