Sluder Lab Publications


Microscope basics

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Microscopy, Fluorescence; Microscopy, Video; Optical Phenomena; Video Recording


Cell Biology | Investigative Techniques | Laboratory and Basic Science Research | Optics


This chapter provides information on how microscopes work and discusses some of the microscope issues to be considered in using a video camera on the microscope. There are two types of microscopes in use today for research in cell biology-the older finite tube-length (typically 160mm mechanical tube length) microscopes and the infinity optics microscopes that are now produced. The objective lens forms a magnified, real image of the specimen at a specific distance from the objective known as the intermediate image plane. All objectives are designed to be used with the specimen at a defined distance from the front lens element of the objective (the working distance) so that the image formed is located at a specific location in the microscope. Infinity optics microscopes differ from the finite tube-length microscopes in that the objectives are designed to project the image of the specimen to infinity and do not, on their own, form a real image of the specimen. Three types of objectives are in common use today-plan achromats, plan apochromats, and plan fluorite lenses. The concept of mounting video cameras on the microscope is also presented in the chapter.

DOI of Published Version



Sluder G, Nordberg JJ. Microscope basics. Methods Cell Biol. 2013;114:1-10. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-407761-4.00001-4. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Methods in cell biology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID