International Magnification Standards

Magnification is one important parameter for determining the performance of an optical microscope. A report from Leica Microsystems published in the journal Microscopy Today clarifies guidelines that help users determine the useful range of magnification values for digital microscopy.

Digital microscopes have electronic image sensors, but no eyepieces, unlike the optical microscopes most people are familiar with. However, any microscope with eyepieces that is equipped with a digital camera can be used in a way similar to a digital microscope.

For more than a century and a half, optical microscopy has allowed people to observe microscopic entities not seen by the unaided eye. Magnification is the ability of a microscope to produce an image of an object at a scale larger than its actual size. Still, magnification at a specific value serves a useful purpose only when it is possible to resolve more details of the object. In the last few years, rigorous international standards for digital microscopy with strict definitions for important parameters, including magnification, have been published. The useful range of magnification depends greatly upon the resolution limit of the digital microscope system used to observe the object of interest.

To learn the details behind the guidelines concerning the useful magnification range, refer to the report in Microscopy Today.

A less in-depth version of the report is available on the Science Lab site of Leica Microsystems. In addition, there is also a short summary of the guidelines.

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