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What are Stereo Microscopes? Explained with Images

A stereo microscopes is a type of optical microscope that lets you see a specimen in three dimensions. It is also called a dissecting microscope and a stereo zoom microscope. Components of a dissecting microscope consist of separate objective lenses and eyepieces. Consequently, there are 2 separate optical routes for each eye.

What Is a Stereo Microscope?

What are Stereo Microscopes? Stereoscopic microscopes also referred to as Dissecting microscope. This is a form of digital optical microscope with a limited magnification range (5x-250x), using light reflected off the specimen’s surface rather than light reflected from the specimen itself. Its principal function is specimen dissection, specimen observation, and qualitative analysis of dissected samples.

Cherudin d’Orleans made the first one in 1677. It was a small microscope with two eyepieces and two objective lenses. A few years later in 1852, an inventor called Charles Wheatstone wrote an article titled “On Some Remarkable, and Hitherto Unobserved, Phenomena of Binocular Vision,” in which he described the basic principles of stereoscopic visualisation. It was later advanced by John Leornld Riddell who equally published it on the Journal of Microscopical Science as ‘ On Binocular Microscope’.

Horatio S. Greenough, an American biologist, invented the stereo microscope, which has two independent but similar optical channels, and had it manufactured by the Carl Zeiss Company. The stereo microscope is the basis for the current Dissecting Microscope.

Principle of Stereo Microscopes

The operation of a dissecting microscope is dependent upon the two types of light paths used by the objectives and eyepiece. Each light path shows things from a different angle. They have a light on top for dissecting and a light on the bottom for looking at the images. This lighting is made possible by a binocular stereoscope, which has two eyepieces. Each eyepiece shows a different type of light path and gives the viewer a comfortable viewing area.

Since it is a digital microscope, the images are shown in real time on a computer screen in 3D. They also let you look closely at small things like insects, where the image is usually bigger than the sample itself. This is called “macro-photography.” The image is saved, and in complex samples, the surface topography is looked at in 3D.

The dissecting microscope has two types of magnification: fixed (primary) magnification, where two objective lenses give a certain amount of magnification, and zoom magnification, which gives a continuous magnification at different ranges by using auxiliary objectives, whose job is to increase the total magnification depending on some factors.

By adjusting the eyepiece lenses, the difference between zoom and fixed magnification can be seen. Between the fixed magnification and the zoom magnification is an optical system known as the Galilean optical system, which consists of fixed-focus lenses that confer fixed magnification for different sets of magnification, such as two sets conferring four magnifications, three sets conferring six magnifications, etc.

Parts of the Stereo Microscopes

stereo microscope images

Figure 1: Stereo Microscope Parts

A stereo microscope is a type of microscope that is used to look at small things in three dimensions. It is also called a dissecting microscope or a low power microscope. There are several parts of a stereo microscope that are important for its function:

The Eyepieces: These are the lenses you’ll need to examine the specimen properly. Typically, they have a rotating head and interpupillary adjustments (the distance between the two eyepieces).

Objective lenses: The objective lenses are located closest to the sample and amplify the image. In order to get a good three-dimensional look at the specimen, stereo microscopes normally use two objective lenses, one for each ocular.

Stereo Head: This component of the microscope is responsible for housing both the eyepieces and the objective lenses. It is also possible to use it as a hand-held unit in addition to mounting it on a stand or tripod.

Light Source: The sample is illuminated by this light source. A fibre optic light guide is an example of an external light source, while a halogen bulb is an example of an internal light source.

Stage Plate: On this platform, the sample will be placed. Typically, it is positioned on a stand and has a mechanism for moving the sample so that it can be observed from various angles.

Focusing Knob: This component of the microscope allows you to modify the image’s focus. It can be a coarse or fine focus knob, depending on the required level of precision.

Metal Base: The base is the component of the microscope that rests on the surface. It’s a strong surface that may be placed atop a desk or a bench.

Types of the Stereo Microscopes

There are several types of Dissecting microscopes, which are designed for different purposes and environments. Some common types of Dissecting microscopes include:

Benchtop stereo microscope: This kind of stereo microscope is set up on a stand or tripod and is meant to be used on a table or bench. It is usually more durable than a hand-held microscope and has a wider range of magnification.

Handheld stereo microscope: This kind of Dissecting microscopes is made to be portable and can be held in the hand. It is often used in the field or on the go to look at small things.

Boom stand stereo microscope: This is a type of stereo microscope that is mounted on a boom stand. This makes it possible to move it in many different directions and at different heights. It is often used in manufacturing and inspection applications.

Boom stand digital microscope: This is a type of stereo microscope that has a digital camera built into it and is mounted on a boom stand. The picture is shown on a computer screen, and it can be saved and analyzed later.

The Trinocular stereo microscope: There is a third eyepiece on this sort of stereo microscope that can be used to mount a digital camera or other image equipment. Several quality assurance and research uses have made its use common.

The Zoom stereo microscope: The zoom objective lens on this type of stereo microscope provides for a wide variety of magnification levels. It finds widespread use in quality control and production settings.

The Stereo zoom boom stand: They have the widest base and biggest viewing platform. They are equipped with either single or double-ended light pipes or LED bulbs. They have a zooming range of 6x-45x which can be changed upward by adding auxiliary lenses or eyepieces.

Dual Power Dissecting Stereo: The dissecting microscope can be rotated through 360 degrees and features magnification levels of both 10x and 30x. The magnification of the image can be adjusted by rotating the lenses. A ring of powerful LEDs is used to illuminate the entire surface. The adjustable base makes it easy to raise the unit to eye level for studying larger specimens.

Stereo Microscopes Applications

Stereo microscopes have many uses, from science and industry to quality control and classroom instruction. The following are some common applications for dissecting microscope:

  1. 3D Inspection: The structure and properties of small objects and specimens including insects, plants, minerals, and electrical components are often studied with the help of stereo microscope with camera.
  2. Biology labs: In biology labs, stereo microscope with camera are frequently used for dissecting tiny plant and animal specimens for further study. The microscope’s three-dimensional perspective improves visibility of specimen features.
  3. Manufacture: Manufacturing and repair applications frequently employ stereo microscope with camera for use in soldering and assembly, among other duties. The microscope’s magnification and three-dimensional perspective facilitate the observation of minute details and the execution of precise tasks.
  4. Quality Check: Examining products or components for flaws and other problems, stereo microscopes are commonly employed in quality control and inspection applications. Industries as varied as electronics, jeweler, and medicine all rely on them frequently.
  5. Classrooms: Stereo microscopes are commonly used in classrooms to show students the inner workings of microscopic organisms and things. You can use them to illustrate ideas in geology, biology, and other scientific disciplines.

Stereo Microscopes Advantages

Stereo microscopes are better than other types of microscopes in a number of ways, which makes them good for some uses. Using a stereo microscope has a number of advantages, such as:

  1. 3-D Visualize: One of the best things about stereo microscopes is that they show the sample in three dimensions, which makes it easier to see its depth and structure. This is especially helpful when looking at small objects or samples with lots of small details.
  2. Wide field view: Stereo microscopes have a wide field of view, which means they can show a lot of the sample at once. This can help when you need to see the whole specimen or part, like when you are dissecting it or putting it together.
  3. Good depth of field: Stereo microscopes have a good depth of field, which means that the image stays in focus over a wide range of distances. This makes it easier to look at specimens with different shapes or depths.
  4. Low magnification: Stereo microscopes usually have lower magnifications than other types of microscopes, like compound microscopes. This makes them good for tasks that don’t need very high magnification, and it also makes them easier for people who aren’t used to using microscopes to use.
  5. High Versatility: Stereo microscopes are very useful tools that can be used in many different ways, such as for research, manufacturing, inspection, education, and even entertainment. They also come in different styles, like bench top, handheld, and digital, to meet different needs.

Stereo Microscopes Disadvantages

There are some positive points about stereo microscopes, but there are also some disadvantages to think about. Some things that stereo microscopes can’t do are:

  1. Lower magnification: One of the problems with stereo microscopes is that they usually have lower magnifications than other types of microscopes, like compound microscopes. This means that they might not be good for tasks that need a very high level of magnification.
  2. Limited resolution: Because stereo microscopes have lower magnifications, they may not be able to show as much detail as other types of microscopes. This is because stereo microscopes have limited resolution.
  3. Prone to distortion: Images from stereo microscopes can sometimes be distorted, especially when the magnification level is high. This can make it hard to understand the details of the specimen correctly.
  4. For small samples: Stereo microscopes are only good for looking at small samples. This is because the sample stage is usually small and can’t hold larger objects.
  5. Light intensity: Stereo microscopes usually use a lower intensity light source than other types of microscopes, which can make it harder to see the details of the specimen. This can be especially hard when the sample is clear or has low contrast.


FAQs on Dissecting microscope (Stereo microscope)

A stereo microscope, also known as a dissecting microscope or low power microscope, is a type of microscope that is used to magnify small objects and examine them in three dimensions.

Stereo microscopes are used for a wide range of applications, including research, manufacturing, inspection, and education.

A stereo microscope works by using two objective lenses and two eyepieces to provide a three-dimensional view of the sample.