A digital microscope is a variation of a traditional optical microscope that uses optics and a digital camera to output an image to a monitor, sometimes by means of software running on a computer. A digital microscope often has its own in-built LED light source, and differs from an optical microscope in that there is no provision to observe the sample directly through an eyepiece. Since the image is focused on the digital circuit, the entire system is designed for the monitor image. The optics for the human eye are omitted.
A digital microscope can offer many advantages over an optical microscope, such as:
- Higher resolution and magnification. A digital microscope can provide better image quality and resolution than a conventional microscope, as it can capture more pixels and details of the sample. A digital microscope can also achieve higher magnification by using digital zoom, which enlarges the image on the screen without changing the objective lens.
- Easier image capture and analysis. A digital microscope can save and store the images on a computer or a memory card, which can be easily transferred, shared, or printed. A digital microscope can also use software to perform various image analysis functions, such as measurement, annotation, comparison, enhancement, or stitching.
- More user-friendly and versatile. A digital microscope can be more comfortable and convenient to use than an optical microscope, as it does not require the user to adjust the focus or alignment manually or to strain their eyes on the eyepiece. A digital microscope can also be used for different applications and purposes, such as education, research, inspection, or hobby.
A digital microscope works by using a combination of optical and electronic components, such as:
- Objective lens. The objective lens is the part of the microscope that collects light from the sample and forms an enlarged image of it. The objective lens determines the magnification and resolution of the microscope. The higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view and the lower the depth of field.
- Motorized stage. A motorized microscope stage is a type of microscope stage that can move the sample automatically along the horizontal axes (X and Y) using motors. This allows for precise and fast positioning of the sample without manual intervention. Some motorized stages also have a vertical axis (Z) that can adjust the focus of the microscope.
- Digital camera (in the case of Celly – iPhone camera). The digital camera is the part of the microscope that converts the optical image from the objective lens into an electronic signal that can be displayed on a monitor. The digital camera consists of a sensor, such as a charge-coupled device (CCD) or a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS), that captures light and converts it into electrical impulses. The digital camera also has a processor that controls the exposure, white balance, color correction, and compression of the image.
- Monitor. The monitor is the part of the microscope that shows the image from the digital camera on a screen. The monitor can be either integrated with the microscope or connected to it via a cable or a wireless connection. The monitor can also be connected to a computer that runs software for image analysis or manipulation.
In conclusion, a digital microscope is a device that uses optics and a digital camera to output an image to a monitor. A digital microscope can offer many benefits over an optical microscope, such as higher resolution and magnification, easier image capture and analysis, and more user-friendly and versatile. A digital microscope works by using a combination of optical and electronic components, such as objective lens, digital camera, and monitor.