Sectioning Equipment

The BIF has equipment to cut thick samples using a vibratome or ultra-thin sections with ultramicrotomes. Ultramicrotomy is a method for slicing specimens into extremely thin slices, called ultra-thin sections (usually >100nm thick), that can be studied and documented in a transmission electron microscope (TEM). It is commonly used for biological specimens, but sections of plastics and soft metals can also be prepared.

Leica VT1000S Vibratome

- Vibrating blade microtome
- Produces thick sections (> 5 um) of fixed or fresh tissue without freezing or embedding in resin for light microscopy

Academic users: $13.20/hr

The frequency can be adjusted from 0 – 100 Hz
The amplitude can be adjusted from 0.2 – 1 mm in 5 mm increments
Knife advance speed is adjustable from 0.025 to 2.5 mm/sec
The section window and specimen retraction mechanisms are programmable
Samples are usually embedded in agar or gelatin for support


Three ultramicrotomes are available in the BIF for cutting semi-thin and ultra-thin sections (<100nm) of resin embedded material for light microscopy and TEM.

Microtome: Academic users: $26.40/h
Cryo-ultramicrotomy: Academic users: $275/day
Leica UC7 with FC7 cryo-chamber

- Ultramicrotome
- Cryo-ultramicrotome for cutting frozen samples for the Tokuyasu technique for immunolabelling, and for high-pressure frozen samples for cryo-electron microscopy for vitreous sections. FC7 cryo-chamber maintains the temperatures as low as -160C.

Leica Ultracut T with FCS cryo-chamber


Reichert Ultracut E


Leica EM KMR2 Glass Knife breaker

The Leica EM KMR2 glass knifemaker produces 45 glass knives from 6.4, 8 and 10 mm thick glass utilizing the balanced-break method.

Glass knifemaker including 1 strip of glass:Academic users: $20/each