The average microscope, or optical microscope, can only maximize the view of an object by 10,000. Whilst the optical microscope has led to some great discoveries in science, it has nothing on the electron microscope, which can amplify the view of its subject by 100,000%.
For one week only two electron microscopes (each costing a cool $70,000 each) will be based at the Naracoorte High School. Each class will have the opportunity to gaze at things such as plants, minerals, and insects in high definition.
There will also be fun in other subjects, with drama students looking upstage makeup in close up, and photography students looking at the nitty gritty of paper. Naracoorte High School is the only country high school to feature the electron microscopes.
They are basically exposing all of our classes to this (the microscope) as much as we can. Mr. Agnew and the other staff were given a tutorial on how to use the microscope last weekend when they went down to Mount Gambier for the ‘Science Alive’ event.
They are encouraging students to bring in their own samples (of things to view) but we also have samples on hand. There’s the opportunity to see so many things to see the structure of worlds.
Scanning Electron Microscope
Naracoorte High will be using two Tabletop Microscopes TM4000s, which are classified as scanning electron microscopes. The scanning electron microscope works by shooting an electron beam onto an object, which uses a combination of heat, X-ray and additional ‘scattered’ and secondary electrons to project an image onto a screen. The image can then be adjusted for higher resolution.
An optical microscope can only create a 3D image with lightwaves, but the electron microscope can zoom in to see even the smallest elements of an object’s topography. Under the electron microscope, the hairs near a spider’s fangs that are almost invisible to a human eye can appear as big as ferns. On an ant, the whiskers of their antennae are suddenly as clear as day.