Background and Identification
A microscope is a magnification instrument used across multiple branches of medicine and science in order to view objects too small to be seen by the human eye. Microscopes allow their users to view objects as small as at the atomic level, with applications in medicine ranging from viewing cells, tissue samples, bacteria, or viruses to active use in precise surgical procedures.
Microscopes are categorized in two ways, one of which depends on what interacts with the subject in order to produce the image: light/photons (optical microscopes), electrons (electron microscopes), or a physical probe (scanning probe microscopes). The other categorization is based on whether the image of the sample is produced by scanning small areas and combining the image or if the entire image is visible all at once.
The ancestor of the modern microscope dates back to around the 13th century when magnifying lenses were first used in eyeglasses. After numerous improvements to these lenses, the first compound microscope (including an objective lens and an eyepiece) was introduced in Europe around 1620.
Microscopes come in various sizes. Most are designed to sit flat on a table, desk, or laboratory counter. Microscopes include a flat surface where the specimen is placed, magnifying lenses, and an eyepiece. Microscopes also often include a light to illuminate the specimen and a power cord.