Friday, June 28, 2013

Tips for Caring for Your Microscope

Microscopes are delicate pieces of equipment, so you should follow a few basic rules to prevent damage to the microscope.

These rules are meant to prevent you from dropping the microscope, from damaging the lenses, or from storing the microscope improperly. Dropping a microscope can break the lenses or can alter the alignment of the lenses. To prevent this damage, you should always carry the microscope with two hands; one hand under the base and the other hand on the arm of the microscope. 

When using the microscope, keep the instrument at least six inches from the edge of the lab table and keep any excess electrical cord on the table top to keep the microscope from being pushed or pulled off the table. The microscope's lenses are very delicate and can easily be scratched or damaged by oils. Lenses should be cleaned before and after each use with special lens paper. In addition, you should refrain from touching the glass lens with your finger to avoid depositing oils or scratching the glass. 

When using the microscope to view a specimen, you should follow common sense rules of behavior. Do not tamper with any part of the microscope unless you understand its purpose. A common mistake is to focus quickly while looking through the eyepiece of the microscope so that the objective lens bumps into the slide. To prevent damage to the lens, you should always make large focus changes slowly while observing the movement of the objective lens from the side of the microscope. 

Finally, the microscope should be stored carefully. Unplug the electrical cord by pulling on the plug instead of the cord. Remove oil from the oil-immersion objective using lens paper, then turn the nose piece so that the low-power objective is in place. Carefully lower the objective to its lowest position by turning the coarse adjustment knob. Then store the microscope under a dust cloth.

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