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  • What samples can I study?
    The most common application is for biological samples, which are generally stained and embedded in resin For materials samples, anything that can be cut with a diamond and show contrast in an SEM
  • Is katana compatible with my SEM?
    As long as there is a clearance of 56 mm between the stage and the pole piece, katana can be installed to collect volume EM data. If you SEM has less clearance, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're always open to exploring potential solutions to accommodate your SEM's specifications.
  • Why would I use the katana microtome?
    If you currently do serial section TEM (ssTEM) but find that it is too time/labour intensive If you currently use FIB but need to image larger volumes in a short time Any biological question where you need to see the ultrastructure of a specimen
  • What are the optimum working conditions for katana?
    This will depend on the SEM, detector, type of sample, and how you wish to balance trade-offs (e.g. do you prefer high SNR over thin cutting)
  • How thin can katana microtome cut?
    Short answer: Around 15 nm under certain optimised conditions. For a more typical scenario with a well stained resin-embedded biological sample, you can expect to hit a lower limit of approx. 25 nm. Some other materials (e.g. aluminium) can cut cleanly down to 10nm ​ Detailed answer: There is a complex trade-off between electron dose on the sample (and hence image quality) and cutting performance. To illustrate with some of extreme examples: If you use very low electron dose (<1 e/nm2) then you can cut cleanly at 10 nm. However, this approach has diminishing returns since the resolution will then be limited by image noise If you are taking multiple images per cut, or a very high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) image, or using very small pixel size, then you may need to cut thicker (e.g. 100 nm) to maintain clean and uniform cutting If you use a more sensitive BSE detector, you can get the same SNR from lower electron dose, so you can cut thinner The SBF-SEM technique usually has a sweet-spot where it is easy to operate and get good results: Accelerating voltage 2 kV, 15 e/nm2 (dose at sample), modern BSE detector giving SNR >4:1 at above conditions, pixel size 10x10x30 nm
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