Top 32 Difference Between Light Microscope and Electron Microscope

Difference Between Light Microscope and Electron Microscope

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Difference Between Light Microscope and Electron Microscope

There are present different types of microscope and each microscope contains different features. The most common microscopes are Light microscope and electron Microscope. These two microscopes contain distinct features for different purposes.

Difference Between Light Microscope and Electron Microscope

The light microscope is a simple microscope and electron microscopes are highly advanced, which are used to create highly magnified image.

Definition of Light Microscope

A light microscope (also known as an optical microscope) is an optical instrument, which is used to make objects larger in order to view their details. It uses light to illuminate the objects under view.

Definition of Electron Microscope

An electron microscope is an optical instrument that uses a beam of electrons to make objects larger for a detailed view.

Difference Between Light Microscope and Electron Microscope

TopicLight Microscope Electron Microscope
Invented byA Dutch spectacles makers Zacharius Jansen and his father HansA physicist Ernst Ruska and German engineer Max Knoll.
CostLow price.It is expensive.
Maintenance costlow maintenance costsmaintenance costs are high
Thickness of specimen5 micrometer or thickerUltra-thin, 0.1 micrometers or below
FocusingDone by adjusting the lens position mechanically.Done by adjusting the power of the electric current to the electromagnetic lenses.
Mounting of specimenMounted on the glass slide.Mounted on the metallic grid (mostly copper).
Coating of specimenStained by colored dyes for proper visualization.Coated with heavy metals to reflect electrons.
Dehydration of SpecimenSpecimens need not be dehydrated before viewing.Only dehydrated specimens are used.
DifficultySimple to useUsers require technical skills
Invention YearIn the 16th century.In 1931
Illuminating sourceUses light to illuminate the objectUses Electron beam to illuminate the object
PrincipleThe image formed by absorption of light waves.The image formed by scattering or transmission of electrons.
Lens typeLight Microscope uses a glass lensElectron Microscope uses Electromagnetic lenses.
Sample PreparationThe preparation of the sample is quick and simple.Complex preparation and long processes.
FilamentNo filament used.Tungsten filament is used.
Radiation leakageNo radiation risk.There is a risk of radiation leakage.
Magnification PowerLow magnification of up to 1,500xElectron Microscope’s Magnification Power is about 10,00,000X.
AvailabilityEasily available and cheaper in rate.Not easily available and expensive.
Sample TypeLiving and dead, both cells are observed.Only dead (fixed) organisms can be viewed.
3D StructureDon’t create a 3D Image it shows a 2D image of the specimen.3D structure is obtained due to which it is easy to study the structural and other details of organisms.
Resolving PowerLow resolving power, usually below 0.30µm.High resolving power of up to 0.0001µm.
ScreenUses Projection screen.Uses a Fluorescent screen.
Voltage RequiredNo need for high voltage electricity.High voltage electric current is required (around 50,000 volts and above).
Color of the specimenThe natural color of the specimen is obtained.Only black and white image is obtained.
Image observationThe image can be seen directly.The image is seen only on the fluorescent screen.
Surface ViewPoor surface viewGood surface view and internal details
VacuumNo need vacuumOperates under a high vacuum
SizeIt is compact in size.Large in size, required separate room for installation.
Cooling systemNo required of the Cooling systemIt has a high cooling system in order to move out the heat generated by high voltage electric current.
Types1. Dark-field microscope
2. Phase-contrast microscope
3. Fluorescent microscope
4. Polarized microscope
5. Differential interference contrast microscope
1. Transmission electron microscope (TEM)
2. Scanning electron microscope (SEM)
3. Transmission scanning electron microscope.
4. Confocal Microscope


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