Microtomes and Accessories

Microtomes and Accessories

Instrumentation and equipment used for creating very thin slices of processed tissue for subsequent staining and microscopic examination. Products include automatic and manual microtomes, and a wide variety of microtome blades.

Microtomes are used to section hard or processed and embedded tissue for staining and microscopic examination to aid in research and disease diagnoses.

Microtomes can thinly slice plant and animal tissue or other materials. More commonly used in healthcare, microtomes are also found in scientific, academic, and industrial labs.

Most microtomes cut with knives and blades and require chemical treatment of samples, but newer microtome models cut specimens with femtosecond lasers instead and require no sample preparation.

What Are the Different Types of Microtomes?

Microtomes are grouped by the cutting motion of the blade. Most older microtomes are manually operated, but modern electronic microtomes are automatic and programmable.

  • Rotary microtomes: this common microtome design holds the knife in a fixed position with the sample holder on an automatic or hand-operated flywheel. Slices are typically 1 to 60μm. For harder materials like samples embedded in synthetic resins, a rotary microtome can produce “semi-thin” sections (as low as 0.5μm).
  • Sliding microtomes: sliding microtomes are used for biological, botanical, and materials science applications. Harder materials like wood, bone, and leather require these microtomes, which have heavier blades and do not cut as thinly as regular microtomes.
  • Automated microtomes: semi- or fully automated microtomes are motor-driven rotary or sliding designs that help minimize user fatigue. Control panels display options including cutting speed, section count, section thickness, and advance distance. Some have multiple cutting modes. Microtome accessories and replacement parts are available to suit your application.

 

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