Ultramicrotomy: Boeckeler PowerTome XL RMC Products

Ultramicrotomy: Boeckeler PowerTome XL RMC Products
Austria • Joanneum Research (JOR)

Equipment: Boeckeler PowerTome XL RMC Products
Technique: Ultramicrotomy
Contact person (Joanneum Research): Barbara Stadlober (barbara.stadlober@joanneum.at)
Responsible: Maria R. Belegratis (maria.belegratis@joanneum.at)

Description: Ultramicrotomy is used to create cross-sections of materials or layer systems for a quick and reliable quality assessment. These cross-sections have a uniform thickness and extremely smooth surfaces in order to be analysed by means of advanced techniques such as scanning and transmission electron microscopy or atomic force microscopy.


  • Main features / Technical specifications

The ultramicrotome consists of a knife block fitted with a glass or diamond knife, a specimen holder with an advancement mechanism and options for setting the cutting parameters. While the sample is being moved on a circular path, a very precise adjustment mechanism incrementally brings the sample closer to the knife, enabling sections to be cut with a controlled thickness, typically in the range of 200 nm to 1 µm.

  • Type of samples (e.g. Si, maximum dimension 10×10 cm, minimum dimension 1×1 cm, etc.)

The sample dimensions are at 5mm x 5mm. To avoid being deformed or even destroyed during the cutting process, the sample must remain stable against the knife blade. Hence, either the samples are embedded in epoxy resins for stabilization or they are physically hardened by cooling with liquid nitrogen below their glass transition temperature (cryo-ultramicrotomy).

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