Microscope Laboratory

Room Use

The Cary Institute Microscope Laboratory is a general use space for all of your microscopy needs. Numerous microscopes are available to reserve to use within the microscope room as well as microscopes that may be moved to other locations. A selection of the personal and Cary Institute library books are available for ease of access to microscopy books and organism keys. A hood is provided for limited processing of samples. Preference is for each researcher to process all samples in their own laboratory and then transport via a cart (with a green label) and view on the microscope. However, it is understood that there are times which it is impossible to adequately transport some biological samples for microscopy work.

Room Access

The Microscopy Lab is a key coded access room. Contact the DFLAS or the Microscope Lab Coordinator to gain access to the room.


Each person will be provided with a brief overview of the microscope laboratory, contents and rules. Initial microscope training will include basic ergonomics, cleaning protocols, and general microscope operations. Please schedule training with the Microscope Lab Coordinator. Each user is responsible to determine the best microscope, sample preparation and method of observation to utilize for their own research.

Microscope Reservation

Reservations to use a specific microscope will be made on a google calendar. Reservations are limited to 8 hours per day and a limit of 10 business days reserved at one time. If more than one person requires the use of a specific microscope an individual will be limited to 4 hours a day to accommodate multiple projects at one time. If you are unable to use your reservation please remove yourself from the calendar to allow another person to fill the slot. Reservations are mostly on a first come first serve basis, if you know ahead of a two week time period that you will need a specific microscope or if you will need a microscope greater than 2 weeks please speak with the Microscope Lab Coordinator for further information.


Storage is limited. Each microscope is provided a drawer for supplies and manuals specific to the microscope. Limited storage will be provided for non chemical supplies when requested. If you wish to store your microscope in the room please contact the Microscope Lab Coordinator for further details.

Microscope and Room Rules

  1. Schedule and complete training in well in advance of intended microscope use.

  2. Request Room access from the Director of Analytical Laboratory.

  3. If you are sick refrain from using any and all microscopes until you are healthy.

  4. Reserve all microscopes remotely via your google calendar.

    • Only reserve microscopes a maximum of two weeks ahead.

    • Remove your reservation if you are unable to use the time slot.

  5. Turn off and cover all lights sources when not in use.

  6. How to return microscopes after use.

    • Return all objectives/magnifications to lowest position available.

    • Return all light and filters back to original bright field position.

    • Clean stage area after each use.

    • Turn off microscope.

    • Cover the microscope.

    • Store all microscope supplies back to designated drawer.

  7. Clean work area after each use.

  8. Special training needed prior to using any immersion oil objective.

  9. Chemicals and samples will not be stored inside this room.

  10. Report any issues to the DLFAS or the Microscope lab coordinator ASAP.

Digital Microscopy

Portable Microscopes

Two digital ioLight microscopes are available to take into the field for quick identification of organisms or to share images with a group. A cell phone, iPad or laptop with Wi-Fi along with the ioLight app are required to use the ioLight properly. The ioLight app connects to the Wi-Fi of your portable electronic device. You may download the ioLight app free from Apple or Google Play app stores.

These microscopes may be reserved using the calendar.

Non Digital Microscopy

Microscope Supplies

Researchers are expected to provide all all consumables and either specific research needs or preferred items to use for microscopy. However, we do have a limited supply of the following items for people to use.

  • Microscope Slides

  • Coverslips

  • Counters

  • Probes

  • Sorting materials

  • Staining containers

  • Watch Glasses

  • Settling chambers