Pocket Microscope: Parts, Working Principle, and Uses

A microscope is laboratory equipment that helps to view objects that are not visible to the naked eyes. There are various types of microscopes; light microscopes and electron microscopes are broad categories of microscopes. Among the different types of light microscopes, the pocket microscope is a microscope that fits perfectly into a pocket because of its small size.

A pocket microscope is a small and portable magnifying device that fits perfectly in the pockets. Hence it is named “pocket microscope.” These microscopes come in various magnifying ranges, 20x to 250x, which is an excellent range considering the size. The microscope is perfect for traveling with and for professionals and amateur scientists. 

Different types of pocket microscope
Different types of pocket microscope

Parts of Pocket Microscope

A pocket microscope fits perfectly in the hand clutch but has parts quite similar to the parts of the general light microscope. The parts are as follows:

Parts of pocket microscope
Parts of pocket microscope
  1. Light source: Many pocket microscopes use LED light as the source of light. Some pocket microscopes like the Carson Microflip have the convenience of shifting between LED and UV light. There is generally two LED light, one faces forward, and the other faces downwards. A LED light switch is present in the topmost part of the microscope, just below the eyepiece.  
  2. Stage: The stage is the place that holds the sample. It is in the bottom part of the microscope.   
  3. Eyepiece: It is in the topmost part of the microscope. The eyepiece is the microscope’s part that helps view the magnified image.
  4. Battery: Most of these microscopes use batteries as the power source.  
  5. Battery Chamber/Holder: A battery chamber/holder is the part that holds the battery used by the microscope.
  6. Zooming Dial: Moving the dials help to change the magnification of the microscope. It is also called a fine adjustment knob.
  7. Focus rings: The focus rings help to focus the image at low power. It is also called a coarse adjustment knob. 
  8. Objective lens: It is present in the bottom part of the microscope. 
  9. Additional parts: Some companies produce microscopes with the following extra parts:
    • Adapter clip: These are the parts that helps in attaching the camera to capture images of the magnified objects.   
    • Foldable base plate: This part is available in Carson Microflip, which helps clip the slide during viewing. 

Working Principle of Pocket Microscope

A pocket microscope is a simpler form of a compound microscope. It has an eyepiece at the topmost part and a light source at the bottom end. The light passes, reflects the object, and passes the objective present at the bottom end. The objective lens forms the image and is viewed through the eyepiece at the top end of the microscope. Some microscope has a base plate for fitting slides, but most microscopes lack the base plate. In such cases, the sample is viewed directly. The position of the microscope for viewing should be at a right angle. 

Procedure for using Pocket Microscope

The following steps are followed for using it:

  1. Firstly, select the object you want to view under the microscope.
  2. If you are using a slide, place the sample on the slide by using sellotape to pick up the sample and secure its position on the slide. But some microscope like the Carson Microflip is suitable for using slides with a coverslip. 
  3. Then place the microscope at a 90° angle above the slide holder.
  4. But if you are viewing objects like flowers, fruits, etc., place the microscope directly above the object at a 90° angle.
  5. Now, turn on the light switch and start viewing from the eyepiece.
  6. Then, move the coarse knob or focus ring (present at the top) to fix the focus (moving it closer or farther from the objective).
  7. Now, move the fine adjustment or zooming dial to focus on the object up close and in higher magnification. 
  8. In the case of Carson Microflip, you can view the image by using your smartphone. Place the adapter clip on top of the eyepiece for viewing the image using a smartphone. Then attach the phone to the adapter clip.
Source: Carson Optical US

Uses of Pocket Microscope

The pocket microscope is helpful in various fields like science laboratories or fieldwork, jewelry construction, watchmaking, etc. The detailed applications of it are as follows:

  1. It helps view the sample in outdoor settings like flowers, fruits, etc.
  2. This microscope is helpful for children interested in microbiology or any science field.
  3. Making watches; involves working with small tools and parts that one can view with naked eyes but will be easier if a pocket microscope is used. 
  4. It is used for inspecting jewelry pieces and making fine jewelry details. 
  5. This microscope is also used during dental fillings and inspections in dentistry.
  6. It is useful in checking circuit boards in electrical and mechanical engineering.
  7. These kind of microscope help in studying insects (entomology).
  8. It is also valuable for inspecting glassware, structural defects in machinery, and metal objects.
  9. People studying minerals and rocks can use them. 
  10. It applies to people with the hobby of coin collection because it helps n observing fine details of the coin. 

Advantages of Pocket Microscope

The advantages of these kind of microscopes are as follows:

  1. It is perfect for traveling with for fulfilling outdoor curiosity.
  2. It is cost-efficient and perfect for children with hobbies of exploring the miniature world.
  3. These microscopes are easy to use, so amateur or budding scientists can benefit from them.
Source: Carson Optical US

Limitation of Pocket Microscope

The only limitation of the pocket microscope is its magnification range (20x-250x), which is not suitable for viewing bacterial cells.

Commercially Available Pocket Microscope

  1. MicroFlip™: It has 100x-250x LED, UV, flip-down slide base, and smartphone digiscoping clip. It fits any smartphone and requires 1 AA battery.
  2. MicroBrite™ Plus MM-300: Its specific characteristics are 60x-120x LED lighted zoom. It is light weighted and requires 1 AA battery.
  3. Pocket Micro™ MM-450: It is a 20x-60x LED lighted zoom field microscope. It has an Aspheric lens system and requires 1 AA battery. 
  4. X-Scope™ CP-11: It is a kid’s microscope and has 7-Function. It also has a 30x microscope, 8x telescope, and 9x fold-out magnifier. The light source is LED light. Other specifications include flashlight, signal whistle, directional compass, and digital clock. 3AG13 battery is included in the microscope. 
  5. MicroMax™ MM-200: It has LED for the light source and a rubberized eyepiece for comfortable viewing. It comes with a 3G3 Button cell/battery.


Ashma Shrestha

Hello, I am Ashma Shrestha. I had recently completed my Masters degree in Medical Microbiology. Passionate about writing and blogging. Key interest in virology and molecular biology.

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