What is Microscope Mechanical Stage?
A mechanical stage is a mechanism mounted on the stage that holds and moves the microscope slide. It has two knobs and allows the user to move the slide in the X or Y direction very smoothly and slowly by turning these knobs.
A mechanical stage is a microscope attachment that holds slides in place and allows the user to precisely control their position. These devices can be useful for manipulating slides at high magnifications and in delicate operations where the position is very important.
Attachments are available to convert a microscope’s basic stage, a flat platform with clips, to a mechanical stage. Some new models come with mechanical stages or optional attachments. High-powered microscopes in particular may need mechanical stages to work best.
It is important to use the mechanical stage to get a better and clear view of the specimen. It makes using the microscope much easier. It allows for better control of the slide in addition to avoiding accidental bumping that may knock the slide out of focus.
Moreover, it allows a systematic scanning of the slide so that the entire specimen can be viewed. The other significant importance of using the mechanical stage is its use at higher magnification since with it a slide containing the specimen can be moved in small increments and opposite directions.
Depending on the type of microscope being used, the stage can be classified on the basis of design and functionality. Some of the stages include;
- X-Y transitional mechanical stage,
- Simple stage with attachable mechanical stage,
- Circular stage with optional mechanical attachment
What is Microscope Stage Clip?
As the name suggests, Stage Clip is a pair of clips that sit on the stage of the microscope and are used to hold the slide in place. Most of the time, these clip to the sides of the slide. They do not sit above or below the slide.
They are spring-loaded to hold the edges of the slide and lock the slide in place. However, there is a certain limitation when using Stage clips. if you have positioned your slide with the stage clip in such a way that you cannot move the position of the slide in a controlled manner.
However, if you try to move the position of the slide, in most cases you will lose your field of view or the sample you are observing under the microscope.
Stage clips are used in low magnification because of the larger field of view and you can easily see your desired object. At high magnification, it is almost impossible to relocate the desired field of view of the object.
To counteract this problem, scientists have developed the mechanical stage, which has a stage controller that can precisely determine the position of the slide. We will go into more detail below about the mechanical stage of a microscope
Components of Mechanical Stage
The microscope mechanical stage is composed of a number of important parts that include:
- Slide holder – the mechanical device that is used for holding the slide in place so that it can be moved with ease from side to side back and forth
- Stage opening – part of the mechanical stage that allows light to pass through the specimen for a better view
- Stage lock control – the locking control that allows the user to fix the stage into position with respect to its rotation around the condenser axis
- Graduated locator markings – graduations are positioned on the portion of the mechanical stage so as to allow the user to be able to note the location of significant specimen details. In this case, the user can easily return to the area for more observation x-y translational control
How To Use Mechanical Stage?
Typically, the mechanical stage is equipped with two translational knobs. Whereas one is for the x-axis, the other one is for the y-axis. The user is allowed to move the slide in the x or y direction slowly and smoothly by turning the knobs.
To use a mechanical stage, the operator positions a slide on the stage and clips it in place. The eyepieces can be adjusted to provide the desired focus and magnification to allow the user to view the slide.
Instead of manually repositioning the slide to look at a different area, the user controls the mechanical stage to pull the slide to a different region. Many work with adjustable knobs.
Users may need to experiment at first because the orientation of the slide can be confusing when they’re looking through the eyepieces.
At very high magnifications, an operator may want to be able to make a micro-movement to see a different part of a slide.
Manual repositioning doesn’t offer the degree of precision available, while a mechanical stage does. The user can note the X and Y-axis coordinates on the stage to carefully reposition the slide.
The slide can be moved using the mechanical controls to scan it, allowing the user to search for something of particular interest and stop to examine it more closely.
In addition to moving slides back and forth and up and down, the mechanical stage may offer angle control. It is sometimes necessary to tilt slides or specimens.
The technician can move the knobs to change the angle and examine a crystal structure or similar phenomenon from a different perspective. Such mechanical stages are more complex and can be harder to learn to operate, so they are usually only installed when they are necessary.
Computer-controlled microscopes may allow a technician to control the mechanical stage with programmed comments or hands-free technology.
Sequences can be entered into the computer, which performs the necessary adjustments, and it can also be controlled with verbal orders, in some cases.
This can be useful for activities like demonstrations, where a scientist may want to focus on presenting the information. The user can program the settings ahead of time to move the slide while discussing different features as they come into view.
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