The compound light microscope is one of the most commonly used types of microscope. Among its many uses is the science classroom, where they are an affordable and easy to use instrument for learning biology and chemistry. The instrument traces back generations, but recently has evolved into a very modern instrument.
Only a few decades ago, you could find the microscope in just two basic types. There was the monocular compound microscope and the binocular compound. That is, the compound light microscope came with either one or two viewing units. With the monocular compound, there was a single eyepiece and so you looked at your specimen with just one eye. This is still what many people envision when they hear the word "microscope." Then there's the binocular model which, naturally, resembles a pair of binoculars. That's because there are a pair of viewing units, one for each eye. Today, there are few if any monocular compound microscopes made. The new standard is the binocular.
However, even more recent times have introduced to us a newer standard. This is the trinocular compound microscope. The "tri" signifies a third viewing port. This makes it a not-as-common spin-off of the binocular compound.
The function of the trinocular microscope is a bit different, since most people only have two eyes. The third eyepiece, then, is for use by a second person. It comes in handy in a couple of situations. First, if two people need to consult together over the same specimen, they are able to look at it at the same time. A second and more common use of the trinocular is to allow a science instructor to see the same thing that his student sees under the microscope. A third good use for it is to take pictures of the specimen with a camera placed over the third eyepiece. Each of the microscope parts functions in harmony, allowing the camera to see what the person's eye sees.
The compound light microscope, as suggested earlier, is powerful due to its pair of optical parts. Let's discuss these and how each of them is used.
1. First of these parts are the objective lenses on the scope. These lenses sit right above the specimen, collecting the light emitted by the specimen. The typical compound microscope has 3, 4 or 5 objective lenses. Each of these will offer a slightly different level of magnification. These objective lenses are held together by the nose piece. As this nose piece is notated, the magnification is altered by a different objective lens.
2) The eyepiece is the second major part. This is the part that your eye looks directly through to see the specimen. It's a cylinder shape and contains a lens. The eyepiece is also called the microscope ocular.
As these two major parts work together, there are is a huge range in magnification available. In fact, if it fits on the microscope, there is almost certainly a magnification level that will bring it to life for you. It's virtually unlimited in the viewing potential it offers you.
The compound scope has some other important parts, too, like the condenser. The condenser is one of the more fragile but important parts. There are other important parts to the microscope, such as the condenser. A diagram of the parts condenser is helpful to make sure it stays in good condition. Do a Google or Yahoo search for more information.
Costs for your microscope might vary, but normally they will run in the range of $500 to $800 for a modern compound light microscope. Expect to pay the higher price especially for a trinocular microscope. You can, of course, find them cheaper used, but make sure to examine the lenses closely to make sure there are no scratches or cracks. There's a lot of power in a compound light microscope, as long as you don't compromise on quality.