Difference Between Light Microscope and Electron Microscope

It is common to have some confusion when distinguishing between optical and electronic microscopes since they have different functionalities. the basic Difference Between Light microscope and Electron microscope is that These two types of microscopes, all and having the same objective: to enlarge images of elements imperceptible to the naked eye, are completely different.

A microscope is an optical instrument that allows you to see very small elements and objects in a larger size, in order to be able to observe their details and physical characteristics, which due to their minimal size are difficult to observe with the naked eye.

Key Differences

  • The main difference is that the optical microscope uses visible light, while the electronic microscope uses electrons.
  • The images of the electron microscope are colorless, while those of the optical if you are in color.
  • On the other hand, the lens of the optical microscope is made of glass. On the other hand, the electron microscope is electromagnetic.
  • The size of electron microscopes is much larger than the optical.

Overview

There are two types of microscopes: the light microscope and the electron microscope. In this sense, in this article we will present the differences that exist between each of them, based on their definitions.The purpose of this text is to show the difference between light and electron microscope ; not without first remembering that a microscope is an optical instrument that allows to appreciate very small objects in large size . This in order to analyze its physical properties with specification, which due to its size are difficult to observe with the naked eye. Basically, the first microscope was invented in the year 1590 by a Dutch manufacturer named Zacharias Jenssen; others point out that it was invented by Galileo in 1610.

Difference Between Light Microscope and Electron Microscope

Light MicroscopeElectron Micro
Uses photons or light as operating principleUses electrons instead of photons as operating principle.
the scope of this type microscope lies in the field of biology.It is used for scientific research like astronomy, cosmology, atom research etc.
it is very cheaperit is much more expensive and complex to use.
it Observe the sample directly.The sample is observed through LCD screens and so on, depending on the microscope model.
Increase the sample size up to a thousand times.Increase the sample size up to a million times.
In an apparatus based on optical lenses.It is a device based on the properties of electrons.
Its lens system is made of glass or quartz crystals.Its lens system is made of electromagnets.
The image is observed directly.The image is observed from the projection on a screen.

What is an optical microscope?

An optical microscope is one of the instruments that marked a before and after in the history of modern science. Especially in the fields of biology and medicine.

Optical microscopes can be defined as an apparatus that allows viewing or observing at an enlarged size elements that are imperceptible to the naked eye. These instruments are also known as a light microscope .

It should be noted that the word microscope comes from the combination of the Greek terms “micrós” which means small, and “scopéo” which translates as looking. This type of microscope is often attributed to the work of the Dutch inventor Anton van Leeuwenhoek.

The optical microscope is a microscope that, as its name suggests, is based on optical lenses. It is also known as a light microscope, since it uses light or “photons” or a bright field microscope. This is an instrument that has more than one objective lens and is used to examine transparent objects or very thin sheets through a system of lenses and light sources.

Therefore, in the optical microscope the magnification of the object is achieved using a lens system that manipulates the passage of light rays between the object and the eyes. Its history dates back to the year 1608 when Zacharias Janssen built a device with two converging lenses, which had the function of enlarging the objects placed under its lens.

In a simple way, we can say that an optical microscope is a piece of equipment that allows, to look at in an enlarged way, those elements that are minimal with the naked eye . This equipment is based on optical lenses. This instrument is used to examine transparent objects through an array of lenses and light sources. Thus, these lenses are made up of glass and quartz crystals.

In the optical microscope the magnification of an object is obtained using a method of lenses that operate under the passage of light rays between the object and the eyes . This allows an increase of 1000 times the original size to be achieved. The lenses that make up the optical microscope are called a condenser, objective, and eyepiece.

The condenser is used to focus the light on the preparation; the objective is the lens closest to the observed object with which the object’s magnification is achieved; the eyepiece is the lens closest to the observer, since the image formed by the objective is finally magnified . It should be noted that this type of microscope is normally used in the field of biology to observe cells , for example.

Characteristics of optical microscopes

The light microscope is the most basic type out there. In fact, he was the one who ushered in the age of microscopy.

Now, as regards its characteristics, it should be noted that its operation is given thanks to a set of lenses, and the use of visible light to enlarge the image of a sample.

Therefore, a microscope includes lenses and elements to manipulate light, a focus also called a light source; a condenser which is traversed by light rays before reaching the sample.

On the other hand, an optical microscope is also composed of a base, an arm that connects the base and the main structure of the microscope. Finally, we must mention the stage where the sample is placed, and the tube that connects the objective with the eyepiece.

What is an electron microscope?

An electron microscope for its operation uses electrons to generate images of tiny objects, instead of using visible light as is the case with the optical microscope.

The first electron microscope was designed by the German physicist Ernst Ruska, and the German engineer Max Knoll between 1925 and 1932. For the development of microscopy they were based on the previous studies of Marco Vilorto. Finally, it should be noted that there are two types of electron microscopes:

  • The transmission electron microscope
  • the scanning electron microscope.

The electron microscope is one that uses electrons instead of photons or visible light to form images of tiny objects. In this sense, in the most modern electron microscopes you can see images of up to 5000 times more magnified than with the optical microscopes of greater range, due to the fact that the wavelength of the electrons is much shorter than that of the visible photons. .

The electron microscope is one that uses electrons instead of photons to illuminate the object to be observed and thus obtain more magnified images than in a conventional microscope . It is a very useful instrument in scientific research due to its great magnifying power . Among the parts of this microscope we mention 4: electron sources, electromagnetic lenses, vacuum chamber and fluorescent screen.

On the other hand, there are two types of electron microscopes: scanning and transmission electron . The of sweeping is one that produces high resolution images of the surface of a sample. On the other hand, the transmission one uses electrons that pass through the sample, these are conducted towards the sample by an electromagnetic lens. This allows the image to be magnified up to a million times the object. Finally, this type of equipment is used in the investigation of biological and inorganic specimens .

Its history dates back to 1925 when Ernst Ruska and Max Knoll, based on the studies of Louis-Victor de Broglie on the wave properties of electrons, applied certain formulas for the design of the apparatus. There are two main types of electron microscopes: the transmission electron microscope and the scanning electron microscope. The transmission electron microscope is the one that uses a beam of electrons that is projected towards the object to be magnified and the scanning electron microscope is the one that covers the sample with a layer of thin metal and is scanned with electrons that are emitted from a cannon to later be displayed on a screen.

The energy source of an electron microscope is an electron beam, its lens system is made of electromagnets, the image is projected on the screen and only dead cells and inert material can be seen through it.

Features of electron microscopes

Electron microscopes allow to achieve magnifications of objects up to 5,000 times more powerful than the best optical microscopes. These machines can achieve this because the wavelength of electrons is much shorter than that of photons.

On the other hand, it should be mentioned that an electron microscope is composed of an electron source, which is equivalent to the light source of a conventional optical microscope.

These types of microscopes also use electromagnetic lenses, which generate magnetic and electric fields. Also note that the vacuum chamber, the place where the previous procedure is carried out.

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