If you work in a lab, as a science teacher at school or are simply a student, chances are you’re going to come into contact with a microscope at some point throughout your day.
Microscopes are one of the most common tools in labs and science rooms, as they allow users to get an extremely detailed and in-depth look at the item under the lens that they are observing. The new worlds that you are able to experience when using a microscope are truly unlike anything else, and they are truly some of the most fun machines to use in the science lab.
However, as fun and entertaining as these machines can be, they also require a great deal of care and proper handling. Microscopes are often very expensive tools, and just like any tool out there, they need to be handled in a certain way in order to continue to work and function in the manner that they are supposed to.
Today, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the best practices to use when handling a microscope. You might not think that there’s a lot that goes into properly handling a microscope, but as you’ll soon find out, there’s actually a lot that goes into this process!
Moving a microscope
When it comes time to move a microscope, grabbing it with one hand and running across the room with it is the absolute last thing that you’ll want to do. If you have to move a microscope from one location to another one, make sure that you always carry it with both hands. Use one of your hands to grab the arm of the microscope, while using your other one to place it directly underneath the base of it. This will create for a nice amount of support, and will ensure that you don’t damage the arm or any other parts while you’re carrying it.
Using a microscope
That might seem simple enough, but that’s only when you’re moving a microscope. Actually using a microscope requires a great deal more from you, and one of the most important things right off the bat has to do with glass part of the lenses. As tempting as it can sometimes be, don’t ever touch this with your fingers. If you have to clean it, ensure that you use special lens paper to do this, as the glass used here is quite fragile and extremely hard to replace if it gets damaged in any way.
When you’re looking at something with a microscope, you will use the coarse adjustment to adjust the overall focus of the image that you’re looking at. However, when it comes time to adjust the image you’re observing, refrain from using the coarse adjustment in a rushed or fast manner. Slow and steady wins the race here, as moving it too fast can cause it to wear down faster than it should.
Along with adjusting that coarse adjustment to get a better focus on your image, make sure that you never touch the actual slide when doing this! Touching the slide during this process can cause a great deal of damage if you’re moving the adjustment faster than you should be, and if this happens, you’re going to be looking at a pretty expensive fix.
Finally, when you’re done looking at an image through your microscope, be sure that you remove the slide that you were observing. Leaving your slide in the microscope can be easy to do, but it’s nothing more than impolite for the next person that’s going to be using it. Remove the lens in the manner that you were instructed to, and things will be nothing but smooth sailing.
As we said in the introduction to this how to guide, microscopes are undeniably some of the most interesting tools out there. The images that they are able to replicate when looking at slides are truly astonishing, and the can give you an entirely new perspective on daily items that you never thought of looking at twice.
However, these images are only made possible because of all the high-end technology that was put into the microscope. All of this tech and machinery requires proper care, and if you follow the tips we outlined today, you can ensure that the microscope you’re using will have a long and healthy life ahead of it.