Ever since the 1590s, the microscope has helped pave the way for numerous discoveries in various fields. It was first invented by putting a few magnifying lenses inside a tube. By layering them in such a way, it greatly enlarged whatever objected was inspected through it.
Today, there are now a number of different types of microscopes on the market, each with a very specific purpose. Many of them are much more sophisticated than their humble predecessors, often employing precision linear stages for more accurate positioning and focusing capabilities. Thus, they are now used in a variety of industries in order to expedite the process of analysis and even quality control. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of these important applications in the modern age.
In order to study microorganisms that are much too small for the human eye to see, microbiologists heavily depend on microscopes to take a closer look at their specimens. These tools allow them to study the cell structures animals, plants, and even those of human beings. Many models incorporate x-rays and infrared rays in order to more accurately examine even the tiniest parts of objects. Modern electron microscopes take advantage of accelerated electrons, allowing microbiologists to magnify their specimens by up to two million times their original size.
Forensic science technicians make use of microscopes in crime laboratories to better examine important pieces of evidence. For example, they can magnify hair and fibers collected from the scene of the crime and compare them from samples obtained from suspects. This will allow the technicians to figure out whether or not a strand of hair came from a person or is actually fur from an animal. They can also analyze any marks on bullets that may have been used during the crime, a process that is often known as ballistics.
Microscopes, particularly electron models, play an integral role in diagnostic medicine, a field that requires analyzing pathogens. They are used to examine body fluids like stool and urine in order to determine the presence of said viruses. In fact, some of the most notorious viruses that cause certain diseases—such as chicken pox and ebola—were discovered using electron microscopes. One advantage of using electron microscopes is that scientists do not need to use reagents specific only to certain organisms.
- Integrated Circuit Manufacturing
As computers continue to shrink in size, the need for precision in manufacturing becomes even more important. Integrated circuits, in particular, can be found in nearly every electronic device out on the market today. In order to ensure the high quality of their products, engineers use microscopes to magnify images of silicon chips and look for any possible defects. These also enable engineers to make more precise cuts if needed.
The microscope has definitely come a long way since its invention several centuries ago. Without it, we may not have been able to progress as much as we have now. Time can only tell what other changes it will undergo, and how these may pave the way for more groundbreaking discoveries in all sorts of fields.