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Cambridge Advanced Imaging Centre


Sectioning equipment


Ultrathin sectioning - Leica Ultracuts


CAIC has three, long-serving ultramicrotomes (Leica Ultracuts) for preparing ultrathin sections for electron microscopy; two are dedicated staff equipment, one is available to users. The user ultracut can only be booked after CAIC training and is only accessible during office hours. We also offer glass knives, hotplates, methylene blue dye and mounting medium for preparing thick sections. Users have to provide their own diamond knives for thin sectioning.



Array tomography - ATUMtome

CAIC is now housing a RMC Boeckeler ATUMtome acquired by Dr Cahir O’Kane from the Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge.


The ATUMtome is a combination of an ultramicrotome producing thin sections and an autonomous, tape-collecting reel, which captures the serial thin sections producing a film ribbon. After mounting the tape on 4-inch silicon wafers, the serial sections are imaged in the Verios SEM in backscatter mode. Imaging software can then be applied to an image series to reveal the 3D structure of the biological tissue. Access only after consultation.



Cryo-sectioning – Leica CM3050 S cryostat

The CAIC cryostat can be used to produce sections of frozen tissue samples for histology or fluorescence staining. Section thickness can be adjusted from 0.5 to 300 um, but most commonly lies between 5 - 15 um. Tissue pieces are generally embedded and mounted using non-reactive tissue freezing compounds, such as OCT-compound Tissue-PlusR from Scigen or Leica Tissue Freezing Medium. Users are expected to bring their own disposable blades and glass slides. The cryostat is only available for booking to CAIC-trained users and only during office hours.