Getting Started In Microscopy


If you are new to the subject of microscopy, this guide will help you get started and give you some information about the basics.

This guide is suitable for both children and adults.



Microscopy is the name give to the process of preparing specimens onto microscope slides, so that they can be easily viewed under a microscope. To accomplish this, a number of accessories are used, which are shown and explained below. Please note: this guide will be expanded upon within the next few weeks.




The Microscope Slide

The slide is a very thin rectangular sheet of glass, which is used to hold the specimen under the microscope for examination. There are many different sizes of microscope slide, but the most common size is 25 x 75mm with a thickness of 1.2mm. Many microscope slides have a frosted or coloured section at the one end, which can be used for colour coding specimens or labelling them.



Microscope Slide Coverslips

Coverslips are used to seal the sample to the microscope slide. A drop of mountant seals the coverslip onto the slide to make a permanent mount. Coverslips are made of glass and are available in a range of sizes, which should be used to suit the size of the specimen being used. Coverslips are coded for thickness. The coverslips we supply as standard are coded No. 1.5, which is around 0.16 - 0.19mm. Coverslips are available in either rectangular or circular profiles.



Microscope Slide Mountant

Microscope slide mountant is used to permanently seal the specimen and coverslip to the microscope slide. Basically, mountant is a very high clarity glue. Many mountants are based on harmful chemicals, most commonly xylene or toluene, but our mountant is water based for greater safety.



Microscope Slide Stains

Many of us will know what it is like trying to identify microscopic structures under a microscope and thinking that they all look the same, or that they are transparent. Well, that is where stains come in. Stains are used to effectively colour the structures to make them easier to identify under the microscope. For example, two of the most common stains used are haematoxylin  and eosin. Haematoxylin is a nuclear stain. It stains the nucleii of cells a dark purple colour, while the stain eosin is a cytoplasmic stain because it stains the cell cytoplasm (the main body of the cell) pink.


Microscope Slide Archiving Cases

Archiving cases are used to store permanent microscope slides for future reference.




If you would like to know more about this subject, please feel free to send us an email with your query.


Please note: our microscope slide starter kits contain all of the most common equipment including standard sizes of slides and coverslips, which are suitable for most applications.









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Revised: 23rd February 2022