The stereo or stereoscopic or dissecting microscope is an optical microscope variant designed for low magnification observation of a sample using incident light illumination rather than transillumination. It uses two separate optical paths with two objectives and two eyepieces to provide slightly different viewing angles to the left and right eyes. In this way it produces a three-dimensional visualization of the sample being examined. Stereomicroscopy overlaps macrophotography for recording and examining solid samples with complex surface topography, where a three-dimensional view is essential for analysing the detail.
The stereo microscope is often used to study the surfaces of solid specimens or to carry out close work such as dissection, microsurgery, watch-making, circuit board manufacture or inspection, and fracture surfaces as in fractography and forensic engineering. They are thus widely used in large numbers in manufacturing industry, both for manufacture, inspection and quality control. It tends to make them of lower cost compared with conventional microscopes.
The stereo microscope should not be confused with a compound microscope equipped with double eyepieces and a binoviewer. In such a microscope both eyes see the same image, but the binocular eyepieces provide greater viewing comfort. However, the image in such a microscope is no different from that obtained with a single monocular eyepiece.
Other articles related to "stereo microscope, microscope":
... A primary difference between a stereo microscope and a digital microscope is the magnification ... With a stereo microscope the magnification is found by multiplying the lens magnification by the eyepiece magnification ... Since the digital microscope does not have an eyepiece, the magnification cannot be found using this method ...