Types of Stereo Microscopes

All stereo microscopes are binocular (having two eyepieces) which allow for steroscopic vision. Stereoscopic vision gives the perception of depth and 3-dimensional data. Stereo microscope uses often require low magnification inspection from 10x - 300x. There are two major stereo microscope types, Greenough and common main objective (CMO) stereo microscopes.

Greenough Stereo Microscopes

In 1890 an American biologist name Horatio S. Greenough developed the stereo microscope known as a Greenough stereo microscope. The Geenough design is very popular and still used today by all major manufactures. The system uses two identical separate optical systems which are attached to the same stand at an angle. Two porro prisims in the beam paths allow for the image to be upright and correctly oriented.
Unitron Z850 Geenough Stereo Microscope           Geenough Stereo Microscope System


Common Main Objective Stereo Microscope

 The Common Main Objective Stereo Microscope (CMO) was introduced in 1957 by the American Optical Instrument Company. This style of stereo microscope is still produced today and is used for more advanced applications. This system allows for modular use and you can incorporate different attachments such as a fluorescence attachment, iris diaphragm, ergonomic features, illumination accessories, etc. These stereo microscopes also allow for higher resolution and higher magnification. The system has two parallel beam paths and a shared main objective.

      Uniton Z8 CMO Microscope                           CMO Stereo Microscope System


Which System Should I Choose? 

For routine applications such as routine inspection, PCB inspection, education, dissection, etc a greenough style stereo microscope will be appropriate. A greenough stereo microscope is less expensive and easy to use. For more complex applications such as fluorescence or applications that require higher resolution and magnification a CMO stereo microscope should be used. CMO microscope types will also allow you incorporate ergonomic features into your microscope such as a tilting head.

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