Mammoth Memory

Convex lens use – Microscope

The difference between a magnifying glass and a microscope is that a magnifying glass is made with one lens while a microscope is made from a combination of lenses. They usually call a microscope a compound microscope because it combines lenses. A lens that uses two or more lenses is called a compound lens.

Each lens magnifies only once, so each one increases the size of the image a bit more. Compound microscopes can magnify an extremely small object such as microorganisms which is naked to a human eye or even a magnifying glass and make details visible.

A magnifying glass may magnify an object 2X but a compound microscope can achieve far more than 200X.

See the ray diagram below:


Compound microscope

Ray diagram of a compound microscope producing a large image of an ant

The early compound microscopes were built illustrated below:

Cut away ray diagram of an early compound microscope


The mirror was used to bring light into the microscope to light up the tiny object.


Modern microscopes use many more lenses and methods to create a very focused image.

Cut away diagram of a microscope which uses several convex lenses

The light under the object is designed to transmit light through a translucent object for viewing.

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