Microscopes

Microscopes are magnifying optical instruments used to study objects that are too small to view with the naked human eye, instead placed in a slide to be viewed through the microscope. Microscopes are able to magnify objects to hundreds or thousands of times their original size, allowing the user to make detailed observations. You can find out more in our microscopes guide.

Key Types of Microscope

  • Optical Microscopes: These are the most common type of microscope. Optical microscopes work by using light and a lens or series of lenses to magnify a sample. It can be as simple as a single lens working as a magnifying glass, or a compound microscope where a system of lenses increases the magnification to a higher resolution. Digital microscopes also fall under this heading.
  • USB digital microscopes are compact, portable and can plug directly into your laptop or PC. They do not feature eyepieces, but display the image onscreen for you. These are ideal for image capture and many come with their own bespoke software.
  • Electron Microscopes: Electron microscopes use beams of electrons and electron lenses to produce an image of the sample that is being magnified. Electron microscopes have a far greater resolution and can show greater magnification than an optical microscope. Electron microscopes can be further split down into the SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopes) and TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopes). SEMs return a 3d image in black and white, while TEMs return a 2D view.

Who uses microscopes?

While microscopes were initially predominantly used for chemical and medical applications, their uses are now incredibly broad and span numerous fields. They are used in forensic science, geology, botany, pharmaceuticals, and quality control applications among many others.

Medicine and other biological careers, such as biochemistry, biophysics, forensic science and microbiology, are perhaps the most expected fields to use microscopes. Microscopes in these fields can be used to study a plethora of objects and samples, such as cell specimens, clothing fibres and other evidence, and much more.

However, microscopes are used in much more than medicine and biological fields. Geoscientists and environmental scientists use microscopes in a similar vein as biologists, in that they are often used to study samples of rock, flora, soils or water samples, allowing for a detailed analysis of the sample's make-up.

Intricate machinery can also include microscopes to inspect the smallest gears and components for flaws or faults. Jewellers and gemologists also use microscopes to study the purity and authenticity of stones, metals and gems.


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RS Stock No. 718-7347
Mfr. Part No.58-04000
BrandBresser
$2,129.92
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10 → 160X - - Yes Halogen - - - 4.7kg 148 x 330mm 148mm 330mm 58-04000 CEE 7/7
RS Stock No. 506-4245
BrandRS PRO
$104.04
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40X - - - - - - - 20g 13 x 120mm 13mm 125mm - -
RS Stock No. 528-5290
BrandRS PRO
$97.77
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40X - - Yes - - Yes AA 30g 150 x 25 x 25mm - 150mm - -
RS Stock No. 395-395
BrandRS PRO
$117.17
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20X - - - - - - - 20g 13 x 120mm 13mm 120mm - -
RS Stock No. 432-457
Mfr. Part No.183-201
BrandMitutoyo
$221.64
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25X - - - - - - - - - - - 183-201 -
RS Stock No. 196-4076
BrandRS PRO
$360.33
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10 → 300 30fps 5M pixels Yes LED USB Yes Rechargeable Li-ion - - - - - USB
RS Stock No. 196-4077
BrandRS PRO
$367.44
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10 - 300, 1200 30fps 5M pixels Yes LED USB Yes Rechargeable Li-ion - 130 x 112 x 28mm - 130mm - Global
RS Stock No. 913-2484
BrandRS PRO
$542.32
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10 → 160X 30fps 1280 x 1024 pixel Yes LED USB Yes Internal Rechargeable 88g 142 x 36mm 36mm 142mm - Type C - European Plug
RS Stock No. 196-4074
BrandRS PRO
$203.29
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20 - 200 30fps 2M pixels Yes LED USB No - - - - - - USB
RS Stock No. 136-3477
Mfr. Part No.OBS 106
BrandKern
$589.85
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4 X, 10 X, 40X - - Yes LED - Yes LR6 AA 3kg 130 x 300 x 310mm - 130mm - Type C - European Plug, Type G - British 3-pin
RS Stock No. 136-3474
Mfr. Part No.OBS 101
BrandKern
$354.12
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4 X, 10 X, 40X - - Yes LED - Yes LR6 AA 2.5kg 130 x 300 x 310mm - 130mm - Type C - European Plug, Type G - British 3-pin
RS Stock No. 196-4079
BrandRS PRO
$466.28
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10 - 230 - 3M, 5M, 8M, 12M pixels Yes LED Wi-Fi Yes Rechargeable Li-ion - - - - - Global
RS Stock No. 136-3476
Mfr. Part No.OBS 104
BrandKern
$516.13
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4 X, 10 X, 40X - - Yes LED - Yes LR6 AA 3kg 130 x 300 x 310mm - 130mm - Type C - European Plug, Type G - British 3-pin
RS Stock No. 196-4075
BrandRS PRO
$254.19
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10 - 300 30fps 5M pixels Yes LED USB No - - - - - - USB
RS Stock No. 161-3614
BrandRS PRO
$1,037.15
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5 → 200X 15 fps, 30fps 1280 x 1024 pixels Yes LED - Yes Li-Ion 88g 36 x 142mm 36mm 142mm MICFIUVWP Type G - British 3-pin
RS Stock No. 669-5718
Mfr. Part No.T0051383599N
BrandWeller
$1,997.55
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20 → 90X 30fps 1280 x 1024 pixel Yes LED - - - - 100 x 32mm 32mm 100mm 0051383599 -
RS Stock No. 161-3612
BrandRS PRO
$985.23
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5 → 200X - 5M pixels Yes LED - Yes Li-Ion - 36 x 75mm 36mm 75mm MICFIP Type G - British 3-pin
RS Stock No. 161-3611
BrandRS PRO
$1,037.15
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5 → 200X 15 fps, 30fps 1280 x 1024 pixels Yes LED - Yes Li-Ion 88g 36 x 142mm 36mm 142mm MICFIUVWP Type C - European Plug