Microscope: Not limited to micro anymore
It has been more than 400 hundred years since first microscope was invented. Like most of the technologies it has evolved from a simple combination of lenses which could be built in our home. Now it has transformed into a complex machine to understand which we would need a college degree. Concept of microscope is to see life which is beyond the scope of our eyes. The original binocular microscopes and one we see in our normal life were based of optics. Meaning they used concepts of light bending and converging to form an image. But this was not nearly enough for us. So we began a journey to change it and evolve it for good.
It is said to be invented in late 1500’s. But it was Galileo’s thinking which started the journey. After inventing telescope Galileo wanted something similar for things that were close but not large enough. Thus, he created compound microscopes on sale which he called with ‘little eye’. It was a simple machine with two lenses fixed at the end of a tube and mounted with on a proper stand. It was based on optics. As the field of biology progressed it demanded for a better and efficient microscope for its use. It was probably this demand which led to creation of better microscopes. In 1600’s lot of advances were made in the technology of microscope by various biologists. Various parts of blood and organs of body were isolated for the first time with the help of microscope only.
Next progress in the field was use of the light technology. The original microscope had the biggest limitation of lighting. It is very difficult to see an object which was not very well lit in the optical microscope. Thus a need arose of a secondary and a better source of light. Due to this modern light microscope was created.
What came next was the changing the object itself. In this ‘normal light’ was not used. Instead we used a different wavelength of light. This light interacted with certain type of particles in the object. These particles emitted waves in higher wavelength. This resulted in an image which is clearer and less distracted.
Major advances in the field were made using the electron microscopes. It was more or less based on same principle with one key change. It used electrons to form an image of the sample. Lenses were also removed from it as they cannot control the electrons.
Originally made to see things which were at micro level has now reached new levels. Light based microscopes can now magnify 1500 times. On the other hand electron microscope can magnify 10 million times. These can help us view an object of size 0.2 NM. With inspection microscope technology advancing so fast we do not see an end to this as of now. We hope it keeps on changing our world makes it a better place.
Some elderly persons use this device, fitted with a small handle to read small print. This lens is also fitted on eye glasses meant for long and short sighted people. When a normal sighted person wears those glasses, figures appear enlarged to them. Children often play with the glasses of their grandparents or parents and they are chided lest they spoil their eyesight.