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Thread: Ultramicrotome

  1. #1
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    Default Slicer dicer

    In 1964 I was tasked to make a work holding device for a similar slicing machine producing microscope ready slices at NASA Ames Research Center. It used the same sort of ultra sharp to the atomic level blade to shave off almost invisible to the eye specimens for the researchers.

    The work piece: monkey brains. I'll never forget it.

    The solution to the problem was to freeze them to a crosshatched copper flat cooled by troughs of dry ice and alcohol.

    Over fifty years later I recall both the accolades of my bosses praising the job and my revulsion at witnessing it in use.

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    I suppose you were not at the time a medical professional, unlike some of the rest of us (Note my avatar) The thought of freezing and slicing monkey brains on a Leica microtome makes my mouth water.

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    I have an old microtome - early 20th century. It is a beautiful precision instrument that can advance the specimen a fraction of a micron at a time and stay completely rigid when slicing through even a hard material. Soft tissue samples are often frozen or embedded in wax. The blade must be absolutely sharp and hard steel blades are lapped in a jig that holds the blade at the correct angle. I do as well have an interesting device for breaking a sheet of glass in a controlled way to create a perfect sharp edge for the microtome.


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