GCSE Biology – What Is The Difference Between Light And Electron Microscopes? #6

in this video we're going to look at the differences between light microscopes and electron microscopes if you can imagine a microscope in your head you're probably thinking of a light microscope because these are the ones that you can use in the classroom and what we think.

Of as conventional microscopes the advantage of light microscopes is that they're small easy to use and relatively cheap however because they rely on light which has a wavelength of 0.2 micrometers their resolution is limited to 0.2 micrometers as well.

Which basically means that any details less than 0.2 micrometers apart will appear blurry so while we can use light microscopes to see individual cells like these onion cells they're not good enough to study the subsolar structures found within cells like mitochondria.

Now electron microscopes on the other hand are really big very expensive and hard to use so are only really used by scientists in laboratories their benefit though is that they use electrons instead of light and electrons have a wavelength of just 0.1 nanometers.

And so their maximum resolution is also 0.1 nanometers and remember with resolution a smaller value is better because it means that you can see tinier details so if we compare the 0.2 micrometers of light microscopes to the 0.1 nanometers of electron microscopes and notice here that the units have.

Changed the electron microscopes actually have 2 000 times better resolution than the light microscopes this means that electron microscopes can give you images with much higher magnifications without going blurry and so you can use them to study sub-solar structures like mitochondria.

For example this image here which is part of a pain cure cell was taken with an electron microscope and we can see clearly the nucleus in the middle and some mitochondria around the edge anyway that's it for this one the main thing to remember are the pros and cons of each type because you're often going to be asked to compare them.

And as always if you want to practice questions on this stuff then head over to our website by clicking on the link in the top right or go to this exact lesson by clicking on the link in the description below