While the technology & fundamental operation behind visible light microscopes has not changed much in 200 years, the wider field of microscopy has continued to greatly evolve. The confluence of advances in imaging, computing, microscopy, and reagent technologies mean live cell imaging has become one of the most exciting subcategories of biological microscopy.
Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying an Optical Microscope
- What type of specimens will you be looking at? (i.e. Is an upright or inverted frame type best? Inverted frame types are best for thick specimens, for example).
- What applications are you using your microscope for? (Is a polarizing or nonpolarizing, basic or advanced model required)?
- Are accuracy and ease of use critical for your applications? If so, you may want to check out the motorized options available.
- What is the cost? With a limited budget, the basic model is usually the cheapest option.
- What service and support options are available?
- How long will staff be working at the microscope? Long periods of use should mean considering the ergonomics of the instrument.
Top 7 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a SEM microscope
- What type of samples will you be looking at? Technical experts can guide you to the appropriate type of SEM, X-ray spectrometer and accessories.
- What is the max magnification at which you want to view the samples & what accelerating voltages do you want to use? (i.e. Will it be a tabletop SEM, W SEM, or Field Emission SEM)?
- Will experts or non-experts be using the instrument the most?
- What is your budget and the expected total cost of ownership?
- How many of the SEMs you are considering are currently in use? Get a complete list.
- Will you receive application support/instrument training? How many service engineers are in your area and what is the average “on-site” response time?
- Can the applications/support staff be contacted directly for help & what is their experience?
Top ten features/factors survey respondents look for when buying a microscope:
|Performance of product||97%|
|Easy to maintain||94%|
|Price of microscope||93%|
|Ease of use||90%|
|Availability of supplies and accessories||84%|
|Low operating costs||83%|
|Total cost of ownership||81%|
|Service and support||73%|
Microscopy techniques currently used by survey respondents:
|Whole slide of "virtual" microscopy||17%|
|Scanning electron microscopy||15%|
|Through-focus scanning optical microscopy||6%|
|Atomic force microscopy||5%|
The typical ways labs are training staff in microscopy and imaging:
|On-the-job training by fellow worker||85%|
|Videos, books, etc.||3%|
|Off site imaging courses||2%|
|Online imaging courses or tutorials||2%|
Types of microscopes currently in use in respondents' labs:
|Compound Microscope (Upright)||82%|
|Stereo Microscope (Dissecting Microscope)||45%|
|Compound Microscope (Inverted)||34%|
|Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope||15%|
|Scanning Electron Microscopy||14%|
|Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)||8%|