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Selection of Cover Slip Thickness

Make sure you always get the right cover slip thickness for your microscope objective

Some comments on thickness selection:
First and most important, not everyone needs a cover slip! Some times a cover slip is used to preserve a sample, or perhaps to protect it from oxygen or atmospheric contaminants (e.g. sulfur). But in general, some microscopes just don't need cover slips. But then others do.

But for those with high end microscopes, with high resolution objective lens (high numerical aperture) one normally uses a cover slip with a rating of thickness #1.5 which corresponds to an actual thickness spread of 0.16 - 0.19 mm.

Some microscopes have a correction device that can be adjusted for different cover slip thickness.

Usually, an objective lens has imprinted on its outer housing (or barrel) the cover slip thickness for which it has been optimized. If some other thickness is used, you will of course get an image but its quality will be noticeably eroded not only in terms of resolution but also contrast. Usually the allowable thickness is given as a "range" so that any cover slip thickness falling within that stated range will give optimum results. But a thickness outside of that range will give an inferior result.

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