Microscope slide

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Light microscope slides with slide and cover slip .
Common slide dimensions (mm).

A slide is a support on which small objects (objects) can be viewed microscopically .

Slides for light microscopy today usually consist of a glass plate (also known as a carrier glass ) measuring 76 × 26 mm (DIN ISO 8037-1). This size was formerly known as the "English format", in contrast to the "Giessen format" with the size of 48 × 28 mm. The slide thickness is 1–1.5 mm. A distinction is made between slides with cut and ground edges. With the latter, the risk of cuts when handling is lower. Slides with and without a matt rim are also available. This can be created either by etching the glass or by printing and is used for easier labeling of the slide.

Some slides are also coated, which allows the objects (e.g. cells or tissue) to adhere better to the glass. Diagnostic slides are printed on the outside with a colored hydrophobic mask made of Teflon or epoxy, which prevents the drop from flowing away from the field of vision.

Simple slide usually consist of soda-lime glass having a refractive index of n e = 1.53 ± 0.02 at λ e = 546.07 nm (green Hg line). For fluorescence microscopy , however, pure white glass is also used, which itself has no fluorescence .

There are special microscope slides that have one or more round recesses, making it easier to examine liquids. There are also slides with attached chambers for cell culture examinations. There are also versions that have a counting comb that can be used to make frequency counts.

For the calibration of lengths under the light microscope, slide micrometers are available on which a calibrated scale is applied.


  • DIN ISO 8037-1: Optics and optical instruments - Microscopes; Slides - Part 1: Dimensions, optical properties and identification
  • ISO 8037-2: Optics and optical instruments - Microscopes - Slides - Part 2: Material and surface quality, type of packaging