Measuring and Counting with a Light Microscope
Using Volume to Estimate Depth
Another way to estimate vertical distance is to consider the volume of material under a cover slip. For example, suppose you have a square cover slip of 22 x 22 mm and you place it over a 40 µl drop of aqueous sample. One milliliter (1000 microliters) of pure water at standard temperature and pressure has a volume of 1 cubic centimeter, while a microliter has volume of one cubic millimeter. Forty microliters, therefore, have a volume of 40 cubic millimeters. The surface area under your cover slip is 484 sq. mm, so the space under your cover slip is 40 ÷ 484 = 0.082 mm. Assuming the liquid is spread out evenly under the cover slip and rounding to reflect precision, the space under the cover slip is 80 micrometers deep.
- Alberts, B., et al. (2002). Molecular Biology of the Cell (4th ed.). New York: Garland Science.
- Caprette, D. (1995). Light Microscopy. Retrieved 8-22-2006 from http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~bioslabs/methods/microscopy/microscopy.html
- Lodish, H., et al. (2000). Molecular Cell Biology (4th ed.). New York: W.H. Freeman and Co.
- Wolfe, S.L. (1993). Molecular and Cellular Biology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Caprette, D. (2006). Microscope slide and cover slip.
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