What Is a Mechanical Stage Microscope?


The microscope stage holds the specimen at the appropriate distance from the specimen. A mechanical stage enhances the function of the microscope's stage by allowing precise movement of the specimen through the field of view.

Field of View

  • The microscope's field of view is the area of the specimen seen through the microscope. The field of view images a small area of the specimen over the stage opening with the field of view increasingly smaller as magnification is increased.


  • The stage is a platform below the nosepiece of the microscope. An opening in the stage allows light to travel through the stage and specimen into the objective lens. Slide clips on the stage hold the specimens position on the stage.

Moving the Stage

  • The focus adjustment knobs of the microscope change the distance between the specimen and the objective lens. This moves the specimen into the focal point of the lens.

Simple Stages

  • On a simple stage, the slide clips secure the specimen over the stage opening. Moving the specimen in the field of view requires physically adjusting the specimen with minor changes in location producing large changes in the field of view.

Mechanical Stages

  • Mechanical stages permit easy manipulation of the view of the specimen. Commonly, mechanical stages are equipped with two transitional knobs, one for the X-axis and one for the Y-axis. Rotating these knobs allows minute and precise movement of the specimen within the field of view.


  • Photo Credit Microscope image by e-pyton from Fotolia.com
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