Microtomes are cutting instruments for the production of preparations used in microscopy, making extremely thin cuts. Generally, through this tool the cuts are from 0.1 to 100 µm. In this sense, the microtome is an automatic precision equipment that is used to make cuts in tissues that have been included in paraffin, being the obtained sections of micrometric thickness thin enough to allow their examination by the microscope.
There are several types of microtomes, among them are: Semi-automatic microtomes, automatic microtomes, cryostats and cryotomes, freezing microtome, ultramicrotome, sliding microtome, oscillation microtome, rotation microtome, rotating microtomes, manual rotating microtomes, being the most used the rotation microtomes for the advantages that provides great precision and the possibility of promoting very thin series cuts, thanks to the demultiplication that causes the change from one rotation movement to another of translation.
Types of Microtomes
There are basic types of microtomes, but all have a basic operation, and in the laboratories can be cataloged in different classes, where each of these will be focused to the specific need you want to cover, among them are:
- Sliding microtomes: it is composed of a fixed sample holder and a blade that is fixed on a rail, and during cutting, the blade is pressed through the sample, resulting in cuts with a thickness of 1 to 60 µm.
- Rotational microtomes: known as Minot microtomes, have a fixed blade and a mobile sample holder, where it is powered by a steering wheel with straight movements and allows samples between 1 and 60 µm.
- Freezing microtomes: belong to a subcategory of rotating microtomes, stored in a freezer container that is cooled with nitrogen and low temperatures increases the hardness of the test.
- Cryostat: consists of a Minot microtome, located in a refrigerator with a lid at the top, and a handle that moves from outside, which handles the making of the cut, while the blade and the advance element is inside the cold chamber, allowing to obtain cuts of material unfixed at -20ºC or even -60.
- Ultramicrotome: Samples are created for transmission electron microscopes, which must be extremely thin, they have special blades and a very fine advance, which is often driven by thermal dilation. The use of these microtomes allows a thickness of 10 to 500 nm.
- Laser microtomes: use a special laser for cutting, which allows very fine cutting of the tests without causing thermal damage to the test material. These microtomes allow samples to be prepared between 10 and 100 µm thick.
Blades used by Microtomes
The blades used by microtomes are of three types of materials, which depend on the need that the laboratory needs to cover, and the fineness of the cut required by the sections, among them steel for special microtomes to cut sections of soft tissues of animals and / or vegetables. They are used in histology laboratories for cork, wood and polyethylene samples, expanded for light microscopy.
There are also glass blades, ideal for extracting very thin sections for light and electron microscopy.
Finally, diamond blades, which are usually used in industries, for fine cuts of hard materials such as bones, teeth and vegetable matter such as hardwood, are also ideal for light microscopy as an electron.
Kalstein mark microtome
At Kalstein, we are manufacturers of the best laboratory equipment, and we make available our units of Microtomes, belonging to the YR series, which has a precise cutting engine, guaranteeing good reproducibility. In addition, the large section thickness range from 0,25 μm to 60 μm is divided into thin and sectional. You can easily switch between these two ranges, even while you are sectioning. Rotation of the sample holder, at any angle within 360 degrees. Vertical sample stroke, 52 mm, among others. HERE
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