Ah! The microscope. Three cheers to the most recognisable instrument found in laboratories around the world! Everyone knows it is used to ascertain the detailed picture of omnipresent bacteria and whatnot! But, do you know how to properly use a microscope like an ace forensic science expert, or an astute jeweller? Well, here’s the trickery-:
1) Wash your hands!
Human skin produces natural oils and collects dirt that bare eyes cannot see or fathom. Yes, it’s true! So, having squeaky clean hands will prevent you from making dirt laden finger-marks on slides since oil and grease can be obstinate to clean off certain surfaces. This ‘hassle’ can get really cringe-worthy once you’ve already mounted a slide on the microscope’s stage because, who knows, you might have to start it all over AGAIN! Bah.
2) Use a Lint-free Cloth
Chances are, there might be some dirt already assembled on your slide’s surface ably assisted by aspiring dust particulates in the air wanting to settle on those slides and your lavish microscope’s lens because they just can’t get enough! Thus, it is best to gently scrub a lint-free cloth and annihilate all the dirt in one go! This helps in removing blurs that obstruct your vision of the components placed on the slide.
3) Proper Care, mate!
Always remember—be gentle with your microscope! Don’t clasp the microscope on the arm, rather pick it up with both hands like a champion since one arm might not be hench enough to carry the weight of the mighty, lightweight—yet fragile microscope. Hence, you would want to place one hand on the microscope’s arm and the other hand beneath it to support the bottom. Then, place it like a prized antique on a clean and uncluttered flat surface to avoid transfer of dirt onto your microscope or your slides which could badly skew the results.
4) Body posture and what not!
While setting up a microscope, make certain you maintain an utterly comfortable posture for using it. Secondly, adjust its height accordingly since many people have gotten sore necks by having the microscope set too low!
For those of you who don’t have a binocular microscope, ensure that whilst closing one eye, you are not making the other one squint for gazing. Don’t worry–it’s not as complex as stargazing. If you are having trouble closing one eye; just cover it with your hand and gaze away happily.
5) Prepare your slides, Captain!
When you first start using a microscope, it’s prudent to use prepared slides in order to get used to mounting slides properly. By undergoing this minimalist workout, you learn to correctly put the slides in and out of the stage clips.
CAUTION: Do not to force your slides under the stage clips if you’re not quite keen on damaging your work. It’s not rocket science, but once you get the hang of it, preparing your own slides becomes an aromatic breeze.
6) Adjust the Illuminator
To give your work specimen the right amount of light, you ought to begin adjusting your microscope’s illuminator and diaphragm. Next, turn the focus knob to move the lens downwards towards the slide. Now, choose a position that gives you the clearest image, albeit be careful about not letting the lens touch the slide!
7) Cover Up the Microscope
Once you’re finished with the task at hand, don’t forget to keep the microscope covered to prevent it from gathering obnoxious dust which can be hard to clean!