Difference Between Simple and Compound Microscope


Too small objects that are even hard to see with naked eyes, to see them microscope is needed and it is used for that purpose. It is a very important part of science, called Microscopy. It defines a study or investigation of small objects or structures that is through a microscope. There are different types of microscopes, however, the main two types are simple microscopes and compound microscopes. One is for simple uses and the other one is used for professional purposes only, respectively.

What is a Simple Microscope?

Visual representation of how a simple microscope works

Figure 1: Visual representation of how a simple microscope works

A simple microscope is a magnifying glass. It can be defined as it is an instrument that gives images of any small object in an enlarged way. It is made of two convex lenses and a short focal length (Flores & Marzullo, 2021). If an object can be placed near the lens, an image will be created that is erect and of course much bigger than the main object. The simple microscope was invented by Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, the exact time of the invention is not specifically known, however, it is some time before 1668. He used this microscope to observe bacteria and became the first person to describe what he sees. In short a microscope that a double convex lens and a short focal length are referred to as a Simple microscope

Application of Simple Microscope

Simple microscope

Figure 2: Simple microscope

An image that is created by viewing any object through a Simple microscope is a virtual image and like any real image, it cannot be projected on any screen (embibe, 2022). The principal focus of the microscope helps the object looks bigger. Some of the lenses, that are used in those microscopes are reading lenses and hand lenses, which are based on the same design (brainkart, 2022).

The main function of the simple microscope is viewing a magnified view of small parts of objects. Therefore, with the help of this microscope jewelers view the fine parts of jewellery. It can be used to see hardly readable small alphabets. Doctors, especially skin specialists use this to properly examine any kind of skin diseases.

What is a Compound Microscope?

A compound microscope is a type of microscope that is used only for professional purposes. It can be defined as a microscope that is made of multiple lenses and can create an enlarged image of the sample (embibe, 2022). It has two convex lenses, one of them is placed near the eye and the other one is placed exactly near the object. The use of different lenses helps a magnifying view of the object. For example, the objective lens has the resolution of 4x, 10x, 40x, 100x and the resolution of the eyepiece of 10x.

Application of Compound Microscope

Compound Microscope

Figure 3: Compound Microscope

Compound microscope is used for getting more resolution that is why it is more preferable than simple microscope. With the help of several lenses, it can create 2D images of any object that is placed in the slide. In a compound microscope, at a time a minimum number of two lenses needs to be used, more lenses can be used for a more detailed view (solutionpharmacy, 2022).

For the use of multiple lenses, it is named as compound lenses. It is used in the forensic labs to solve any crime cases. Most importantly, compound microscope can be found on any pathology, and with help of it any diseases can be detected easily.

What is the difference between a Simple and Compound microscope?

Simple Microscope Compound Microscope
Simple microscope is a microscope that is a magnifying glass. Compound Microscope is a microscope that provides high-resolution images of an object, with the help of two or more lenses.
The simple Microscope was invented by Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek Compound microscope is invented by Hans and Zacharias Janssen.
It can be used for simple research, even for reading hardly readable alphabet (embibe, 2022). It is used for professional uses, for example, it can be used in the pathology or forensic labs.
With the help of this microscope, any object can be seen on a very fundamental level. This microscope is used for viewing a more magnified version of an object.
It can be made up using a single lens. A compound microscope has at least 2; sometimes even 3 to 5 lenses.
The magnification level is very lower. The magnification level is much higher than any simple microscope (solutionpharmacy, 2022).
Natural light is the only source of light. Illuminator is used as a source of light.
It only has a concave mirror. A plane mirror is used on one side, while a concave mirror is used on the other side.
It has no use of a condenser lens. A Condenser lens is used to adjust the intensity of light. It helps to get a magnified view of the object.

Table 1: Difference between simple and compound microscope


For getting magnifying views or detailed views of an object microscope is used. The simple microscope and the compound microscope serves two different kinds of purses. One is used to get the normal closed derailed view and the other one is for getting a more specific and detailed view.


Q1. Who invented the Simple microscope and the compound microscope?

Around the year 1670, The simple microscope was invented by Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek and in 1950 The compound microscope was invented by Hans and Zacharias Janssen.

Q2. Where does the compound microscope used?

The compound microscope is used for professional purposes. In the laboratory, forensic labs, and pathology the use of a Compound microscope is found.

Q3. What is the microscope?

A microscope is an instrument that is used for getting a clear and detailed view of an object that is hard to see with naked eyes. There are different types of microscopes, such as simple, compound, electron, Stereomicroscope etc.


Simply Easy Learning

Updated on: 18-Aug-2023


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