A laboratory (// or //; informally, lab) is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed.
Labs used for scientific research take many forms because of the differing requirements of specialists in the various fields of science. A physics lab might contain a particle accelerator or vacuum chamber, while a metallurgy lab could have apparatus for casting or refining metals or for testing their strength. A chemist or biologist might use a wet laboratory, while a psychologist's lab might be a room with one-way mirrors and hidden cameras in which to observe behavior. In some laboratories, such as those commonly used by computer scientists, computers (sometimes supercomputers) are used for either simulations or the analysis of data collected elsewhere. Scientists in other fields will use still other types of laboratories. Engineers use labs as well.
A telescope is an instrument that aids in the observation of remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation (such as visible light). The first known practical telescopes were invented in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 17th century, using glass lenses. They found use in terrestrial applications and astronomy.
Within a few decades, the reflecting telescope was invented, which used mirrors. In the 20th century many new types of telescopes were invented, including radio telescopes in the 1930s and infrared telescopes in the 1960s. The word telescope now refers to a wide range of instruments detecting different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, and in some cases other types of detectors.
An eyepiece, or ocular lens, is a type of lens that is attached to a variety of optical devices such as telescopes and microscopes. It is so named because it is usually the lens that is closest to the eye when someone looks through the device. The objective lens or mirror collects light and brings it to focus creating an image. The eyepiece is placed near the focal point of the objective to magnify this image. The amount of magnification depends on the focal length of the eyepiece.
An eyepiece consists of several "lens elements" in a housing, with a "barrel" on one end. The barrel is shaped to fit in a special opening of the instrument to which it is attached. The image can be focused by moving the eyepiece nearer and further from the objective. Most instruments have a focusing mechanism to allow movement of the shaft in which the eyepiece is mounted, without needing to manipulate the eyepiece directly.
A camera lens (also known as photographic lens or photographic objective) is an optical lens or assembly of lenses used in conjunction with a camera body and mechanism to make images of objects either on photographic film or on other media capable of storing an image chemically or electronically.
There is no major difference in principle between a lens used for a still camera, a video camera, a telescope, a microscope, or other apparatus, but the detailed design and construction are different. A lens may be permanently fixed to a camera, or it may be interchangeable with lenses of different focal lengths, apertures, and other properties.
A telescopic sight, commonly called a scope, is a sighting device that is based on an optical refracting telescope. They are equipped with some form of graphic image pattern (a reticle) mounted in an optically appropriate position in their optical system to give an accurate aiming point. Telescopic sights are used with all types of systems that require accurate aiming but are most commonly found on firearms, particularly rifles. Other types of sights are iron sights, reflector (reflex) sights, and laser sights.
The first experiments directed to give shooters optical aiming aids go back to the early 17th century. For centuries different optical aiming aids and primitive predecessors of telescopic sights were created that had practical or performance limitations.
The optical microscope, often referred to as the "light microscope", is a type of microscope which uses visible light and a system of lenses to magnify images of small samples. Optical microscopes are the oldest design of microscope and were possibly invented in their present compound form in the 17th century. Basic optical microscopes can be very simple, although there are many complex designs which aim to improve resolution and sample contrast.
The image from an optical microscope can be captured by normal light-sensitive cameras to generate a micrograph. Originally images were captured by photographic film but modern developments in CMOS and charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras allow the capture of digital images. Purely digital microscopes are now available which use a CCD camera to examine a sample, showing the resulting image directly on a computer screen without the need for eyepieces.
In light microscopy, a water immersion objective is a specially designed objective lens used to increase the resolution of the microscope. This is achieved by immersing both the lens and the specimen in water which has a higher refractive index than air, thereby increasing the numerical aperture of the objective lens.
Water immersion objectives are used not only at very large magnifications that require high resolving power, but also of moderate power as there are water immersion objectives as low as 4X. Objectives with high power magnification have short focal lengths, facilitating the use of water. The water is applied to the specimen (conventional microscope), and the stage is raised, immersing the objective in water. Sometimes with water dipping objectives, the objective is directly immersed in the solution of water which contains the specimens to look at. Electrophoretic preparations used for instance in the cases of Comet Essay can benefit largely with water objectives.
Microscopy is the technical field of using microscopes to view samples and objects that cannot be seen with the unaided eye (objects that are not within the resolution range of the normal eye). There are three well-known branches of microscopy: optical, electron, and scanning probe microscopy.
Optical and electron microscopy involve the diffraction, reflection, or refraction of electromagnetic radiation/electron beams interacting with the specimen, and the subsequent collection of this scattered radiation or another signal in order to create an image. This process may be carried out by wide-field irradiation of the sample (for example standard light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy) or by scanning of a fine beam over the sample (for example confocal laser scanning microscopy and scanning electron microscopy). Scanning probe microscopy involves the interaction of a scanning probe with the surface of the object of interest. The development of microscopy revolutionized biology and remains an essential technique in the life and physical sciences.