Difference Between Light Microscope and Electron Microscope

Microscopes come in a variety of sizes, each with its specific suitability. The most common categories are the electron microscope and the light microscope. Each of these microscopes possesses distinct features and is appropriate for different purposes. Both light microscopes and electron microscopes use radiation to form detailed images of objects that a human eye cannot produce unaided.

The main difference between light microscope and electron microscope is that an electron microscope uses beams of electrons to magnify the image of an object while light microscope uses rays of visible light to form highly magnified images of tiny areas of materials or biological specimens.

Light Microscope vs Electron Microscope

Light Microscope

Electron Microscope

Uses light ( approx 400-700 nm) as an illuminating source

Uses electron beams (approx 1 nm) as an illuminating source.

Lower magnification than an electron microscope

Higher magnification

No risk of radiation leakage

Risk of radiation leakage

Specimen preparation takes about a few minutes or an hour

Specimen preparation takes several days

Both live and dead specimen can be seen

Only dead and the dried specimen can be seen

The image formation depends upon the light absorption from the different zones of the specimen

The image formation depends upon the electron scattering

The image is seen through the ocular lens. No screen needed

The image is received on a zinc sulphate fluorescent screen

Useful magnification of 500x to 1500x

Direct magnification as high as 16000x and photographic magnification as high as 1000000 x

Low resolution

High resolution

Inexpensive and requires low maintenance cost

Expensive and high maintenance