Choosing a Clinical Microscope: Hematoxylin and Eosin staining (H&E)

Main Users and Applications

  • Pathology labs. H&E is a fundamental part of all Histopathology
  • Oncology for Cancer study
  • Animal research
  • Toxicology and RND of Pharmaceutical companies and Biotechnology companies
  • Users that need to look at tissue morphology


  • To study the general morphology of tissue and look for any abnormal tissue development
  • To look for abnormal growth (cell division) in tissue, which may be signs of cancer.
  • To look for any foreign particles that should not be in the tissue

Areas of User Interest

  • Abnormal morphology of cell or tissue, where shapes and morphology have significant changes
  • Of major importance: The ratio of nuclei in the region. A dominated blue area means too many nuclei (too many active dividing cells, which may be a cancer region)

Microscope Requirements - What to Look For

  • A macro picture of the tissue is needed. Low power objectives of 4x or 5x would be important for better FOV.
  • Users usually do not need to observe at the cell level, therefore 60x or 100x oil objectives are very rarely needed
  • 20x objectives are generally the most important tool, and the 40x is also quite commonly needed for more detailed evaluations.
  • Extremely demanding on “true” color retention, and contrast. Importance is placed on being able to detect the intense blue areas compare to the red. A strong color background can badly affect the
  • Very often, users also require good resolution at the 20x-40x This is so the abnormalities can be observed in detail.
  • Sample volume is usually very high. Users need to work with microscopes for hours, and these long hours need to be comfortable, otherwise human error due to fatigue could become possible. Occupational conditions could also become a potential problem, such as neck strain or carpal tunnel.
    • Due to the long-term use, fast switching of objectives; light intensity adjustment; a lot of stage movement and ease of focusing all needed to be considered.
    • Ergonomics is important
    • Loose and easy to use stage and nosepieces would be important to decrease strain for the user.
    • If slide comparison is necessary between 2 slides, a 2x slides stage holder would be very useful. A fast on-hand control slide holder is also preferred in some cases
    • Fast and easy photo capturing for documentation would also be a bonus, and it is a must-have for pathologist for their reports. A trinocular microscope would be better in this case.
    • Stage coordinates should be able to be easily seen, as users may need to record the coordinates when comparing the same region with IHC or FISH results.
    • The microscope will consistently see a lot of movement of slides, objectives, and the stage. Therefore, a heavy enough robust and sturdy stand is incredibly important during the daily routine.

Recommended Specifications

  • Some pathologists prefer the halogen illuminator, and a day-light filter and ND filter is a must with halogen, to provide additional color options.
  • Other pathologists have grown to prefer the LED, which presents a white and blue background. The ND filter is still a nice-to-have, but becomes far less important. Day-light filter is usually only used as a bonus.
  • Objectives needed:
    • 4x or 5x; some will need 2.5x or 1.25x
    • 10x
    • 20x
    • 40x
    • Plan Apo Objectives are preferred by some labs for their more stringent requirements on color correction

Setup Recommendations and Specifications

  • The Motic PA43 is the perfect work-horse for routine clinical use, as it is robust and sturdy while offering impressive image quality. The price, along with the microscope’s small footprint allows labs to scale easily.
  • The Motic PA53 is a high-tech research scope, and has a full suite of additional contrast methods. It is ideal for use in a pathologist’s office for a pathologist to make the final diagnosis, or as central photo capturing/imaging station or image analysis station.
  • Both microscopes have the IL illumination manager. This microscope memorizes lighting for each objective, minimizing light adjustment time for users when switching between different magnifications.
  • The Motic microscope ergotube allows for tiltable eyepieces, improving user ergonomics.
  • The PA series also has low position, angle adjustable stage controls, and a one finger control right-hand focusing drive.

Figure1. Courtesy to Department of Pathology, Capital Medical University

Leave a note for our applications team if you are interested in learning more - either through a demo, a pricing quote or just additional brochures.  


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