Tips To Look After Your Microscope from Experts At BMS

Commonly and extensively used in all different types of labs across the world, microscopes are used to view everything from plant cells to mineral samples, and allow you to observe items that are too small for the naked eye. This kind of device is integral for studying structures, cells, and microorganisms in both diagnostics and research applications.

There are several kinds of microscope, but at SciChem, we only work with the very best microscope manufacturers, including BMS. They offer a wide range of microscopes for both professional use and hobbyists, and they are specialists in the field.

In this article, the experts at BMS have shared their top tips for looking after your microscope.

Take Care of Lenses

The lens is the most critical part of a microscope, and the objective lens must be lowered in order to adjust the view focus. One of the most common issues we see with this equipment is damage to the lenses, so proper care and attention must be taken to keep them in top condition.

When viewing a slide, make sure the objective lens doesn’t lower too much and touch the base. Lenses touching the slides can cause damage such as scuffs and scratches, making them unusable. It is also important to take care to keep lenses as clean as possible.

They are notoriously difficult to clean when they become dirty, so be careful to avoid touching the lenses when using or moving the microscope.

Avoid Improper Handling

The way you handle your microscope will play an important role in the lifespan of your equipment. Improper handling is often the reason behind microscope problems, so extra care should always be taken in order to avoid this.

When you are moving your microscope around the lab, hold both the base and the metal support arm carefully. Never handle your microscope using the eye piece holder or the flat plate, as this can lead to misalignment. The flat plate is the part of the microscope where slides are positioned during an observation.

Use A Dust Cover

All BMS microscopes include dust covers as standard, and for good reason. You should always use the dust cover for this equipment, especially in storage and when moving the microscope around.

Whenever your equipment is not being used, put the dust cover or dust bag back on to protect it. Getting dust on or in a microscope can cause a lot of problems, and the easiest way to avoid this is a dust cover.

The eye tubes of your microscope should also be protected from dust, so if you remove them, make sure to cover them with caps and store properly.

Look After the Bulbs

Microscopes feature tiny bulbs which are used for the illuminator. Make sure you switch off the illuminator whenever it is not in use, in order to minimise damage. If the bulbs are left on for long periods, they will overheat and eventually blow, causing further damage to your equipment.

When you do turn off your illuminator, wait for it to completely cool before you put the microscope away. By allowing it to cool down, you can extend the lifespan of the bulb and avoid having to make replacements which can be costly.

Follow The Instructions

It might sound obvious, but the instructions and information provided in your microscope’s user manual are there for a reason. BMS microscopes will come with a manual as well as any specialist spanners which are required for adjustments.

Always follow the instructions carefully and only use the provided spanners to make microscope adjustments. Never use different tools than the ones provided, and never use force with your microscope. When you do make adjustments, avoid overtightening as this can damage the equipment.

Store Appropriately

The chances are your microscope is going to spend the majority of its time in storage. We have already discussed the importance of storing with a dust cover, but it is also vital you keep your equipment in a clean, dry space with plenty of ventilation.

Damp air near the microscope will cause damage over time, so make sure to keep equipment somewhere dry and away from anything that could leak.

Microscopes should also not be stored near to potentially corrosive chemicals which may give off fumes, as this can corrode metal parts and destroy the lenses.


For more information on BMS microscopes, contact our expert team today.

Choosing A Power Supply For Your Lab

One of the most critical features in any laboratory is the power supply. They are required for so many experiments and projects, and ensuring you have the right one for your applications and requirements is crucial. A faulty or incorrect type of power supply can be hazardous for yourself and your colleagues, while also impacting your work. There are a range of different power supplies available for labs, and they are necessary for supplying clean currents and stable voltages during your experiments.

At SciChem, we work closely with Lascells who are one of the top manufacturers of laboratory power supplies available today.

What Is A Laboratory Power Supply?

Power supplies are an essential piece of kit for any lab, as they are used to test electrical components and circuits. This kind of equipment is powered using voltage and they are used for many different projects and experiments at all levels. Sometimes referred to as benchtop power supplies, these are portable devices which can be used on a lab surface and moved around as required.

In some laboratories, mains adaptors are used as the main power supply, but this can be a problematic approach. Having a standalone power supply means you can clearly see both the current and voltage for your experiment, delivering a precise and reliable reading every time. Depending on the type of power supply you choose, you can also select specific voltages and currents for each project you are working on.

Types Of Power Supplies

Power supplies come in various different types and each work in a slightly different way. Simple devices are perfect for basic level experiments, and they feature two displays and two dials. You can set specific current and voltage limits for your project and choose from Constant Voltage (CV) mode or Constant Current (CC) mode. Generally speaking, there are two main types of power supplies for a lab; linear and switching.

A linear power supply often experiences high loss of energy and needs regular cooling with a fan. They are larger and heavier than switching supplies because they have a transformer fitted. Switching power supplies are much more efficient, and also smaller and more compact. This kind of equipment can emit a high-frequency noise and is not ideal for working with inductive loads like coils and motors.

Lascells Power Supplies

Lascells are passionate about ensuring science experiments and teaching of science is enjoyable for students and easy for educators. That’s why they focus on creating lab equipment, which is simple, effective, and reliable. They produce a couple of power supply products which are extremely popular in education and school laboratories around the world.

  • Lascells Revolution Variable Power Supply: This compact power supply works up to 8A DC with the option for switched, variable or constant DC voltage. The maximum voltage limit is super simple to adjust, and this power supply also benefits from automatic overload protection and digital voltage readout. The lightweight case and compact design makes this power supply ideal for labs with limited space or for portable use.
  • Lascells Revolution Switched Power Supply: The Lascells switched power supply has a regulated DC output allowing the supply to remain constant no matter what is connected to the terminals. There is a maximum voltage limiter which is operated using an Allen key, allowing educators to set a maximum voltage for students to use. The compact design is easy to move around the lab as required and also takes up minimal storage space.

What To Consider When Choosing A Power Supply For Your Lab

Knowing the best power supply for your laboratory can be a confusing decision. To help you understand the right option for your requirements, we’re sharing the main things you should consider when comparing power supplies.

  • Power and Output: You can choose devices with a range of different power levels. Some can supply a current at any voltage while others support multiple ranges for a continuous transition. If you regularly need to test different devices simultaneously, then a power supply with multiple outlets is essential.
  • Safety Features: Look for power supplies with adequate safety features and DUT protection to cover you in case of failure.
  • Dimensions: The size and weight of the power supply is important to think about too. If you need to move the equipment around your lab often, or store them away, you should choose a supply which is compact and portable.
  • Specifications: There is a lot more to a power supply than just voltage, outputs and current. You should also take into consideration line regulation, readback currency, sense connections, interfaces, noise output, load regulation, and transient response.


For more information on power supplies and assistance finding the right solution for your lab, contact our expert team.

Lab Balances – How To Choose The Right One For Your Industry

Lab balances and scales are used across a huge range of industries, not just in laboratories. Sectors including retail, industrial, education, and food all use balances and scales on a regular basis, and depend on them for their day to day applications. No matter the industry you are operating within, you need to have the right equipment in place in order to guarantee accurate results and efficient performance. Choosing the right balance or scale for your business is not always an easy decision, and it is vital you understand the ins and outs of these devices before making a decision.

Types Of Lab Balances

All balances work by measuring objects, and some offer extreme detail down to a granular level. Some industries, such as the food sector, will require ultimate detail and precision, while others, such as education might not require such detail. In order to choose the right lab balance for your industry, you need to be aware of the types available:

Compact Balances

This is a type of professional weighing balance which is compact in size. Due to their small nature, compact balances are portable, making them great for use in a range of industries, particularly when space is scarce. Most compact balances are digital these days, and come equipped with a stainless steel weighing pan. Stainless steel is usually the standard because it can withstand all substances and is very easy to clean after use. This is a great advantage in food or industrial settings.

Analytical Balances

Industries which require ultimate detail often choose analytical balances because of their ability to measure a mass right down to sub-milligram ranges. This piece of kit offers extremely accurate and precise results, perfect for situations where exactness is critical. Due to their sensitivity, analytical balances can be very susceptible to their environment. To deal with this, the weighing pan is isolated in an enclosed and temperature controlled environment. This protects products from particles, dust, air currents and more. Analytical balances are good for use in industrial or laboratory settings where there is a lot of other equipment nearby. This is because they offer great protection from electrical and mechanical interference.

Precision Balances

Any situation where complete precision is required can benefit from a precision balance. In addition to being incredibly accurate and precise, this kind of equipment offers a steady output even when conditions are not ideal. Unlike other kinds of balances, precision balances are much less likely to give a faulty reading during temperature fluctuations. These lab balances are the most common across a lot of industries because they offer accurate results and are easy to use.

Precision balances are a top choice among many industries including medical and pharmaceutical applications, where exact precision is critical. If you often need to weigh varied amounts in your business, then this is a great option as they can handle anything from a few kilograms to several hundred grams.

OHAUS Lab Balances For All Industries

At SciChem, we work with some of the best suppliers in the world. OHAUS are a trusted and certified manufacture of lab balances. They have products suitable for all industries, including:

  • Laboratory: In a lab environment, you often need to have a range of balances to hand for different experiments. OHAUS offer analytical balances such as the Pioneer Semi-Micro which delivers accuracy and repeatability for weighing applications in a lab.
  • Industrial: When it comes to industrial applications, OHAUS offer a range of industrial grade scales and lab balances. A popular balance for the industrial sector is the Compass portable balance which features an enlarged weighing platform, able to handle large samples.
  • Retail: In the retail sector, jewellery balances are a popular choice as they can be used to accurately weight precious stones and metals. The Scout balance from OHAUS is ideal for weighing retail products with high accuracy.
  • Food: If you are operating in the food industry, it is essential that you can weigh products with high precision. That is why a precision balance is a popular option for food manufacturers.
  • Education: Education settings generally require a wide range of balances and ultimately what you need will depend on the level of education you are providing. Many educators choose mechanical scales and balances, like the OHAUS Junior Balance which is designed specifically for younger students.

5 Types of Microscopes and What They Are Used For

Microscopes are used for a huge range of applications and are one of the most commonplace pieces of kit in a laboratory. The word microscope comes from the ancient Greek word for ‘small’ which is mikros, and ‘to look or see’ which is skopein, and these devices have been around for many years. In simple terms, they are used to view tiny objects in more detail than is possible with just the human eye.

There are various types of microscope available in today’s market, which is why we have collaborated with the experts from one of our partners BMS microscopes to help you understand which type of microscope is right for you. We’ve created this guide to explain the different types of microscopes and what they are used for.

Compound Microscopes

Compound microscopes are most commonly used in laboratories, schools, vets, and for histology uses. They feature two lenses, providing a better magnification than a simple microscope. With this kind of equipment, the second lens further magnifies the image from the first lens. Compound microscopes light the sample from below, and samples need to be placed onto slides with a cover slip.

These microscopes are great for viewing items which are too small to see with the naked eye. They offer magnification all the way up to 1000x, but commonly come as 40x, 100x, or 400x magnification. Compound microscopes which magnify up to 1000x often have low resolution at this level, making them unsuitable for viewing tiny details. Compound microscopes are used to view a range of samples including cheek cells, blood cells, bacteria, parasites, tissue, algae, and thin sections of organs.

Stereo Microscopes

Stereo microscopes provide a stereo, or 3D, image of a sample. They are great for looking closely at samples which are large enough to hold in your hand. Most stereo microscopes provide magnification between 10x and 40x, so they are not designed for very close examination of tiny samples. They use both reflected and transmitted illumination to view samples which do not allow light to pass through.

The most common uses for stereo microscopes include coin collecting, quality control, botany, and high school dissection projects. Many people use stereo microscopes for looking in detail at items such as flowers, insects, coins, metal parts, plastic parts, circuit boards, small animals, wires, and fabric weaves.

Digital Microscopes

Digital microscopes are the latest in microscope technology and bring many benefits that aren’t available with other traditional devices. This kind of equipment uses a computer in order to take an in-depth look at tiny samples which aren’t visible to the naked eye. They are available either with or without eye pieces and connect to a monitor using a USB connection. The magnified sample is displayed on the monitor, and still images or videos can be captured and saved.

They work using a blend of both optics and a digital camera, and digital microscopes are available as either simple piece of equipment or advanced systems with many features. These kinds of microscopes are commonly used in research, medicine, education, forensics, and manufacturing. Some common uses include inspecting brake pads in vehicles, detecting counterfeit documents, converting artwork, and making intricate jewellery repairs.

Monocular Microscopes

Monocular microscopes have just one eye piece for viewing samples, and they can be stereo or digital. Generally, with a single eye piece, a microscope can magnify up to 1000x depending on the type. Compound microscopes cannot be monocular as they require more than one eye piece. Monocular microscopes are commonly used in school classrooms for basic science experiments. It is important to bear in mind that with a monocular microscope you cannot achieve the depth and 3D appearance, so all samples will look flat.

Binocular & Trinocular Microscopes

Both binocular and trinocular microscopes are similar, and available as compound, stereo, or digital microscopes. A binocular microscope has two eye pieces, and many users find them the most comfortable option to use. Trinocular microscopes have a third eye piece which can be used to mount a camera on without disruption. With a camera mounted, views of the sample can easily be shared and saved, just like with a digital microscope. These types of microscopes can be used for almost any applications where a detailed viewing of a small object is required.


BMS have been manufacturing high quality microscopes of all kinds for many years, which is why we’re so happy to be an exclusive partner, stocking various BMS microscopes and accessories that are only the highest in quality and specification. So, no matter if it’s to perform an experiment to classroom full of students, or as part of a microbiology study for a private research facility, SciChem have you covered.

Cloud Chambers: Explained by the SciChem Science Team

Radiation is all around us, and completely invisible to the naked eye. It wasn’t until 1896 that anyone knew this radiation even existed. It was first discovered by Henri Becquerel when he realised that photographic paper was blackened by rocks containing uranium. Today, we know that thousands of substances are radioactive, giving off particles which travel in the air until they become absorbed by another material or the air itself.

Detecting this radiation can be done using a piece of equipment called a cloud chamber. A cloud chamber can reveal any background radiation in the atmosphere, and despite sounding complex, they are quite simple pieces of kit to understand. At SciChem, we stock Lascells cloud chambers, which are popular in all kinds of laboratories and education settings.

Lascells are dedicated to manufacturing products which make teaching science easy and enjoyable. Their expert team have been creating lab equipment since 1997, and their cloud chamber is a bestseller from their product range. In this guide, our specialists are delving into what a cloud chamber is, what they detect, and how they work to reveal radiation.

What Is a Cloud Chamber?

A cloud chamber is a piece of equipment which has an enclosure filled with supersaturated water or alcohol vapour. It was first invented in 1912 by Charles Wilson, and this piece of kit is sometimes called a Wilson cloud chamber. He first invented the cloud chamber as a way of creating small clouds and then observing the optical phenomena around them, which is where the name cloud chamber comes from. Over a few years, he began to realise that the chamber he had created could also detect the movement of subatomic particles. 20 years after his initial invention, Wilson had perfected the design and created the world’s first particle detector.

The original cloud chamber invented by Wilson had three separate sub-chambers: the sensitive chamber, the control chamber, and the vacuum chamber. In addition to these, there was also various valves and a water-sealed piston. The sensitive chamber is the area where subatomic particles can be seen, and it’s a sealed enclosure with saturated air inside. Saturated air has 100% humidity, which means it is holding the maximum amount of vapour possible at the current pressure and temperature.

What Do Cloud Chambers Detect?

Cloud chambers are often used in laboratories and science experiments in order to detect ionising particles. The particles that can be studied with a cloud chamber include electrical charged particles, and the devices can also reveal the amount of ionisation, the properties, and the identity of the particle. They are commonly used for the study of radioactive elements, including alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. Alpha is more ionising compared with beta, and gamma rays are electrically neutral so do not ionise, which means they cannot be detected in a cloud chamber.

This equipment can also be used to detect cosmic rays because the secondary rays are created in particle showers which are ionising, including electrons and muons. While cloud chambers can detect cosmic rays, it is spark cambers which are more commonly used for this area of study nowadays. Many of the initial discoveries for cosmic rays were made using a cloud chamber, such as the discovery of kaon and positron.

How Do Cloud Chambers Work?

Cloud chambers are used to detect subatomic particles, but they do not work by displaying the particles themselves. Instead, this equipment reveals the tracks left behind by particles in the form of a thin mist. The tracks are a result of condensation of the vapour in the enclosure and differ slightly between various types of particles. This is how cloud chambers work to identify particles and their differing properties.

A cloud chamber works using the expansion of saturated air and the downward displacement of a piston. The air works on the piston at the expense of its own internal energy, following the first law of thermodynamics. This causes a decrease in the air’s temperature thanks to the decrease in internal energy, and the result is that the air is in a super-saturated state. The air is just about to condense, but an extra impetus is required to make this happen.

Charged particles crossing through the air provides this extra impetus and causes the air molecules to ionise and knocks the electrons off their orbit. These ionised molecules are attracted together, causing drops of water to condense into a misty trail. The trail only lasts a few seconds but can be used to detect characteristics of various particles. Some cloud chambers use alcohol vapour as opposed to water, because of the low freezing point.

GCSE Experiments from Narika: Part 1

Teaching GCSE science requires the perfect blend of theoretical learning and practical experiments. As an educator, knowing the right experiments to teach children or demonstrate in class can be challenging. You want to choose lessons which are going to fit with the syllabus, be memorable for everyone, and really make the learning come alive.

At SciChem, we specialise in laboratory equipment and we supply many educational institutes with the right tools for teaching. NaRiKa are a popular brand that we partner with, and they manufacture lots of great equipment which is used in GCSE science experiments. NaRiKa have shared with us some of their top GCSE experiments, so next time you are stuck for a lesson plan, check these out.

Who Are NaRiKa?

NaRiKa have been creating exciting science lessons for all ages since 1918, and their century of experience has made them one of the best in the business. Their teams are super passionate about helping children learn about the universe we live in, and they are totally committed to cultivating a passion for science education. NaRiKa develop products to help young people explore science in an exciting way and they aim to ignite children’s desire to learn.

NaRiKa’s GCSE Science Experiments

These are just a handful of NaRiKa’s specially created science experiments for GCSE students:

#1 Density

In this experiment, students learn how to use the right laboratory equipment to make and record the measurements required to determine the densities of solids and liquids. Using NaRiKa’s block set, students can realise the different densities of various materials. The set includes an aluminium block, a steel block, a plastic block, and wooden block. These can be compared by hand or by using weighing scales to measure their weight difference.

The density experiment using blocks is a quick lesson which teaches students all about the relationship between mass, volume, and density of various materials. As each block is exactly the same size, they will easily be able to experience first-hand the differing weights of the materials.

#2 Force And Extension

The force and extension experiment focuses on acceleration and helps students develop the Apparatus and Techniques (AT) skills. Using the ICT enabled Dynamic cart from NaRiKa, alongside the BeeSpi V light gate, students will learn to measure motion, including the determination of speed and rate of change of speed. Students should use the metallic cart and measure it’s acceleration and deceleration using the BeeSpi V light gate. There is also a holding rod for this device which enables learners to fix the light gate at specific angles or heights.

This experiment is easy to complete with all GCSE students and there is no need for a PC connection when using the light gate for speed measurements. It allows speed data to be measured and analysed in a STEM manner. Two BeeSpi V light gates can be used together for measuring acceleration or energy.

#3 Investigating Electrical

Students can learn to use their own circuit diagrams to construct circuits. In this experiment they will investigate I-V characteristics of a range of circuit elements such as a resistor, a filament lamp, and a diode. NaRiKa’s DC Ammeter is small and light enough to connect to any circuit, and the two alligator clips are built in to the main body of the device for ease of use. Other devices for this experiment are the DC Voltmeter, cement resistors, knife switches, and miniature bulb holders.

The measurements are clearly displayed on digital screens with a plus or minus sign, and there is a one push start function for quick measurements. During this experiment, students can make their own trial and error mistakes to learn how all the components work. Thanks to the safety of the NaRiKa devices, there is no chance of damage from a wrong connection or human error for measurement ranges.

#4 Resistance

Similarly to the above electrical experiment, this lesson uses circuit diagrams to teach resistance. The same circuit equipment can be used, as well as the Genecon, a handheld DC generator device. With this piece of kit, students can generate electricity for their circuits by just turning the handle. Multiple Genecons can be used together to power equipment if needed.

Students can experiment with different energy levels by turning the handle at different speeds. They will learn how to use appropriate apparatus to measure current, voltage, and resistance, and discover the various elements of a circuit. This experiment is great for teaching how to accurate record measurements, meeting AT1 skills.


Explore the full NaRiKa range on our website today.