Microscope Optical Systems

Modern compound microscopes are designed to provide a magnified two-dimensional image that can be focused axially in successive focal planes, thus enabling a thorough examination of specimen fine structural detail in both two and three dimensions. The optical components are mounted on a stable, ergonomically designed base that allows rapid exchange, precision centering, and careful alignment between those assemblies that are optically interdependent. Together, the optical and mechanical components of the microscope, including the mounted specimen on a glass micro slide and coverslip, form an optical train with a central axis that traverses the microscope base and stand.
Review Articles
Interactive Tutorials
Optical Aberration Interactive Tutorials
  • Astigmatism
    An off-axis aberration manifested as a point appearing to be a line or ellipse.
  • Chromatic Aberration
    Wavelength-dependent artifact occurring due to refractive index variations.
  • Field Curvature
    Common aberration caused by the spherical surface of lens elements.
Selected Literature References

Contributing Authors

Douglas B. Murphy - Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy and Microscope Facility, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 725 N. Wolfe Street, 107 WBSB, Baltimore, Maryland, 21205.

Kenneth R. Spring - Scientific Consultant, Lusby, Maryland, 20657.

Mel Brenner, Stanley A. Schwartz, and Travis Goulette - Nikon Instruments, Inc., 1300 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, New York, 11747.

Thomas J. Fellers, Charles D. Howard, Matthew Parry-Hill, and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.