Difference Between Light Microscope and Electron Microscope

Microscopes come in a variety of sizes, each with its specific suitability. The most common categories are the electron microscope and the light microscope. Each of these microscopes possesses distinct features and is appropriate for different purposes. Both light microscopes and electron microscopes use radiation to form detailed images of objects that a human eye cannot produce unaided. The main difference between light microscope and electron microscope is that an electron microscope uses beams of electrons to magnify the image of an object while light microscope uses rays of visible light to form highly magnified images of tiny areas of materials or biological specimens. More differences between the two are listed below in a tabular column.

Light Microscope vs Electron Microscope

Difference Between Electron Microscope And Light Microscope
Light MicroscopeElectron Microscope
Uses light ( approx 400-700 nm) as an illuminating sourceUses electron beams (approx 1 nm) as an illuminating source.
Lower magnification than an electron microscopeHigher magnification
No risk of radiation leakageRisk of radiation leakage
Specimen preparation takes about a few minutes or an hourSpecimen preparation takes several days
Both live and dead specimen can be seenOnly dead and the dried specimen can be seen
The image formation depends upon the light absorption from the different zones of the specimenThe image formation depends upon the electron scattering
The image is seen through the ocular lens. No screen neededThe image is received on a zinc sulphate fluorescent screen
Useful magnification of 500x to 1500xDirect magnification as high as 16000x and photographic magnification as high as 1000000 x
Low resolutionHigh resolution
Inexpensive and requires low maintenance costExpensive and high maintenance

Though both the microscopes are important in their own way, nowadays Electron Microscopes are widely used by scientists in laboratories for the detailed study of organisms while light microscopes are used by schools and colleges for viewing organisms that are easily visible through it.

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