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Imaging Microscope Objectives, Dry
4X Plan Achromat
1X Super Apochromat
60X Plan Fluorite
10X Plan Apochromat
50X Plan Apochromat
Did You Know?
Multiple optical elements, including the microscope objective, tube lens, and eyepieces, together define the magnification of a system. See the Magnification & FOV tab to learn more.
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Example of a Dry Objective Design
(See Objective Tutorial Tab for More Information About Microscope Objective Types)
Thorlabs offers dry objectives made in house, as well as objectives from Olympus, Nikon, and Mitutoyo. Plan achromat, plan fluorite (also called plan semi-apochromat or plan fluor), plan apochromat, and super apochromat designs are available. For details about the differences between these types of objectives, please see the Objective Tutorial tab above.
When choosing a microscope objective, it is important to keep in mind that objectives are often designed to integrate with a particular manufacturer's microscopes. Before interchanging objectives, be sure to check the design tube lens focal length and the threading type of the objectives. A full list of specifications for each objective can be found in the Specs tab above. Please note that the performance of each objective may vary from the engraved specifications when integrated with components and systems from different manufacturers. See the Magnification and FOV tab for more information.
Our selection of dry objectives can be used in applications from microscopy to fiber coupling and includes options optimized for use at wavelengths from the UV to the NIR. For information on recommended applications for specific objectives, see below.
All objectives featured on this page are compatible with our microscope nosepiece modules for DIY Cerna® systems, which accept RMS, M25 x 0.75, or M32 x 0.75 objective threading. Parfocal lengths can be matched by using our parfocal length extenders. The Olympus microscope objectives can be mounted directly to our fiber launch systems, or mounted into our 30 mm cage system using the CP16 RMS-threaded cage plate, which is also post mountable. They can also be mounted to any of our multi-axis platforms or translation stages using an HCS013 RMS mount. Please note that the multi-axis platforms and translation stages need a 3 mm wide central keyway for the HCS013 RMS mount.
Alternatively, all of the microscope objectives featured below can be easily mounted to our cage systems or lens tubes using Thorlabs' thread adapters, thus facilitating the setup of optical systems. To convert an objective to the SM1 (1.035"-40) thread standard used in many Thorlabs components, we recommend the SM1A3 adapter for the Olympus objectives, the SM1A12 adapter for the Thorlabs and Nikon objectives, and the SM1A27 adapter for the Mitutoyo objectives.
Note: These microscope objectives serve only as examples. The format of the engraved specifications will vary between objectives and manufacturers.
Types of Objectives
We offer our own objectives as well as ones from other manufacturers like Nikon, Olympus, and Mitutoyo. This guide describes the features and benefits of each type of objective.
Dry or Oil-Immersion Objectives
Super Apochromatic Objectives
Plan Achromat and Plan Apochromat Objectives
Plan Fluorite Objectives
Glossary of Terms
M = L / F .
The total magnification of the system is the magnification of the objective multiplied by the magnification of the eyepiece or camera tube. The specified magnification on the microscope objective housing is accurate as long as the objective is used with a compatible tube lens focal length.
Numerical Aperture (NA)
NA = ni × sinθa
where θa is the maximum 1/2 acceptance angle of the objective, and ni is the index of refraction of the immersion medium. This medium is typically air, but may also be water, oil, or other substances.
Click to Enlarge
This graph shows the effect of a cover slip on image quality at 632.8 nm.
FN = Field of View Diameter × Magnification
Correction Collar (Ring) and Cover Glass Thickness
The graph to the right shows the magnitude of spherical aberration versus the thickness of the coverslip used, for 632.8 nm light. For the typical coverslip thickness of 0.17 mm, the spherical aberration caused by the coverslip does not exceed the diffraction-limited aberration for objectives with NA up to 0.40.
When viewing an image with a camera, the system magnification is the product of the objective and camera tube magnifications. When viewing an image with trinoculars, the system magnification is the product of the objective and eyepiece magnifications.
Magnification and Sample Area Calculations
The magnification of a system is the multiplicative product of the magnification of each optical element in the system. Optical elements that produce magnification include objectives, camera tubes, and trinocular eyepieces, as shown in the drawing to the right. It is important to note that the magnification quoted in these products' specifications is usually only valid when all optical elements are made by the same manufacturer. If this is not the case, then the magnification of the system can still be calculated, but an effective objective magnification should be calculated first, as described below.
To adapt the examples shown here to your own microscope, please use our Magnification and FOV Calculator, which is available for download by clicking on the red button above. Note the calculator is an Excel spreadsheet that uses macros. In order to use the calculator, macros must be enabled. To enable macros, click the "Enable Content" button in the yellow message bar upon opening the file.
Example 1: Camera Magnification
Example 2: Trinocular Magnification
Using an Objective with a Microscope from a Different Manufacturer
Magnification is not a fundamental value: it is a derived value, calculated by assuming a specific tube lens focal length. Each microscope manufacturer has adopted a different focal length for their tube lens, as shown by the table to the right. Hence, when combining optical elements from different manufacturers, it is necessary to calculate an effective magnification for the objective, which is then used to calculate the magnification of the system.
The effective magnification of an objective is given by Equation 1:
Here, the Design Magnification is the magnification printed on the objective, fTube Lens in Microscope is the focal length of the tube lens in the microscope you are using, and fDesign Tube Lens of Objective is the tube lens focal length that the objective manufacturer used to calculate the Design Magnification. These focal lengths are given by the table to the right.
Note that Leica, Mitutoyo, Nikon, and Thorlabs use the same tube lens focal length; if combining elements from any of these manufacturers, no conversion is needed. Once the effective objective magnification is calculated, the magnification of the system can be calculated as before.
Example 3: Trinocular Magnification (Different Manufacturers)
Following Equation 1 and the table to the right, we calculate the effective magnification of an Olympus objective in a Nikon microscope:
The effective magnification of the Olympus objective is 22.2X and the trinoculars have 10X eyepieces, so the image at the eyepieces has 22.2X × 10X = 222X magnification.
Sample Area When Imaged on a Camera
When imaging a sample with a camera, the dimensions of the sample area are determined by the dimensions of the camera sensor and the system magnification, as shown by Equation 2.
The camera sensor dimensions can be obtained from the manufacturer, while the system magnification is the multiplicative product of the objective magnification and the camera tube magnification (see Example 1). If needed, the objective magnification can be adjusted as shown in Example 3.
As the magnification increases, the resolution improves, but the field of view also decreases. The dependence of the field of view on magnification is shown in the schematic to the right.
Example 4: Sample Area
Sample Area Examples
The images of a mouse kidney below were all acquired using the same objective and the same camera. However, the camera tubes used were different. Read from left to right, they demonstrate that decreasing the camera tube magnification enlarges the field of view at the expense of the size of the details in the image.
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The TL1X-SAP objective includes a removable wave plate that is attached via magnets to the end of the objective barrel. White markings on the end of the barrel and a black dot on the wave plate serve as reference points when rotating the wave plate.
Thorlabs offers super apochromatic microscope objectives with 1X, 2X, 4X, or 10X magnification. The objectives are designed to provide axial color correction over a wide field of view with no vignetting over the entire field. Each objective is designed for use with a tube lens focal length of 200 mm and has optical elements that are AR-coated for improved transmission. For more details on these objectives, please click the info icons () below or see the full presentation.
Our 1X telecentric objective is ideal for machine vision applications and features a removable magnetic waveplate that minimizes back reflections when used with an epi-illuminated system, thus enabling an increase in contrast; see the image to the right. Our 2X and 4X objectives have high numerical apertures (NA), making them ideal for widefield imaging. Lastly, our 10X objective is designed for multiphoton imaging applications and provides excellent transmission out to 1300 nm.
All objectives are shipped in an objective case comprised of a lid and container; please see the table to the upper right for compatible replacement cases for each objective. Each objective housing is engraved with the item #, magnification, NA, wavelength range, and working distance. The housings are designed for a tube lens of focal length 200 mm. The TL1X-SAP, TL2X-SAP and TL4X-SAP objectives have M25 x 0.75 external threading, while the TL10X-2P objective has M32 x 0.75 external threading. To use the objectives with a different thread standard, please see our optical component thread adapters.
The TL1X-SAP, TL2X-SAP and TL10X-2P objectives have parfocal lengths of 95.0 mm, while the TL4X-SAP objective has a 60.0 mm parfocal length, respectively (see the Specs tab for complete specifications). To use these objectives alongside each other, we offer the PLE351 parfocal length extender to increase the parfocal length of the TL4X-SAP objective from 60.0 mm to 95.0 mm.
These infinity-corrected, imaging microscope objectives for visible wavelengths provide 4X, 10X, 20X, or 40X magnification. With their high numerical apertures (NA) and large magnifications, they are suitable for focusing or collimating laser light. These Olympus objectives are ideal for imaging applications due to their diffraction-limited performance across the entire visible spectrum. Alternatively, they can be used to focus light to a diffraction-limited spot, enabling efficient coupling of monochromatic or broadband light into a waveguide or fiber. Each of these objectives is suitable for use in brightfield microscopy, while the RMS10X, RMS20X, and RMS40X also offer excellent performance in darkfield imaging.
Their designation as plan achromats indicates that they are flat field and aberration corrected at two different wavelengths in the visible spectrum, leading to better spherical and chromatic corrections and superb field flatness. These achromatic objectives have an ultra-wide antireflection coating and standard RMS threading. To use these objectives with a different thread standard, please see our RMS thread adapters.
These infinity-corrected, imaging microscope objectives for visible to NIR wavelengths provide 4X, 10X, 20X, 40X, or 60X magnification. Plan Fluorite objectives, also called a plan semi-apochromat, are corrected for four wavelengths. These are well suited for color photomicrography. The RMS60X-PFC features variable coverslip correction; it has a rotating correction collar that changes the distance between the objective elements, allowing the coverslip correction to be adjusted from 0.11 mm to 0.23 mm.
All of these objectives are excellent for brightfield microscopy, while the RMS10X-PF, RMS20X-PF, RMS40-PF, and RMS60X-PFC objectives are also excellent for DIC microscopy. These objectives use standard RMS threading. To use these objectives with a different thread standard, please see our RMS thread adapters.
The Nikon Plan Fluorite Objectives provide 4X, 10X, 20X, 40X, or 60X magnification. They are designed to have high transmission in the UV to NIR wavelength range and to produce flat images across the field of view. These multi-purpose objectives can be utilized for brightfield microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, and polarization-sensitive observations. The N10X-PF, N20X-PF, N40X-PF, and N60X-PF objectives are also good for both darkfield and DIC microscopy.
Of all the objectives featured on this page, these Nikon plan fluorite objectives are the most compatible with the ITL200 infinity-corrected tube lens and the tube lenses in DIY Cerna® Systems. These objectives use M25 x 0.75 threading, which can be converted to other thread standards using Thorlabs' selection of M25 x 0.75 adapters.
These objectives are designed for use from -18 °C (0 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) and are not recommended for use at extreme temperatures.
Thorlabs MicroSpot objectives provide long working distances while keeping axial focal shift low. Their optical design is chromatically optimized in the UV wavelength range. Diffraction-limited performance is guaranteed over the entire clear aperture. These objectives are ideal for laser cutting, surgical laser focusing, and spectrometry applications. They can also be used for scanning and micro-imaging applications like brightfield imaging under narrowband, UV laser illumination. Each objective is shipped in an objective case comprised of an OC2M26 lid and an OC24 canister.
Each objective is engraved its class, magnification, numerical aperture, wavelength range, a zero (noting that it is to be used to image a sample without a cover glass) and optical field number. For an explanation of the defining properties of these objectives, please see the Objective Tutorial tab.
Thorlabs can provide these objectives with custom AR coatings on request by contacting Tech Support; options include broadband NUV (325 nm - 500 nm), dual band (266 and 532 nm), and laser line (248 nm, 266 nm, 355 nm, or 532 nm). We also offer additional MicroSpot objectives for laser-focusing applications in the UV as well as visible and near-IR wavelengths.
Thorlabs offers Mitutoyo Plan Apochromat Objectives with 5X, 7.5X, 10X, 20X, 50X, or 100X magnification. They feature a flat field of focus and chromatic correction over their operating ranges: either 436 nm to 656 nm or 480 nm to 1800 nm. The long working distance provides a wide space between the lens surface and the object making them ideal for machine vision applications. Each objective is engraved with its class, magnification, numerical aperture, a zero (noting that it is to be used to image a sample without a cover glass) and the tube lens focal length for which the specified magnification is valid. For an explanation of the defining properties of these objectives, please see the Objective Tutorial tab. If the case shipped with each of these objectives is lost or broken, Thorlabs offers an objective case (item #s OC2M26 and OC24) that can be used as a replacement.
The objective has external M26 x 0.706 threads. The objectives can be integrated into an SM1 lens tube system with the use of an SM1A27 adapter. For additional M26 x 0.706 threaded adapters, please see our optical component thread adapters guide. These objectives do not feature adjustment to correct for cover glass thickness and should be used without a cover slip.