Updated on April 28, 2011
- Ultracut &
Ultracut E (1982 & 1990, Reichert-Jung, Vienna, Austria)
- Section thickness: 10-999 nm
- Preparing semi-thin or ultra-thin sections for TEM observation.
- Press main switch
(59) on control unit (green signal) to light up fluorescent tubes.
stereomicroscope with carrier to the left.
- Move lever (6) on
knife support to the left and take out knife carrier assembly (9/10)
from its guide track (7) in an upward movement.
- Raise main control
lever (12) on handwheel to its upper stop and rotate handwheel (15)
slowly to its detent (arresting of inner ring).
- Preset cutting
zone length with sliding control (13). Normally red dot position
corresponding to 4, 5 mm.
- Fasten specimen in
specimen holder (38). Insert specimen holder into segment arc VHL (35)
or goniometer head EGH and secure.
- Insert segment arc
into the trimming block and place trimming block with these elements in
the guide (7) of knife support.
stereomicroscope over trimming block, adjust zoom to minimum
magnification and shift trimming block longitudinally in the support
guide (7) until the specimen appears in the center of the field of
view. Then move clamping lever (6) into position “FIX”.
- Adjust zoom
control (32) to red dot setting: distance between grid lines in the
eyepiece graticule 1mm.
- Cut and trim
specimen block with a razor blade. Cutting face is normally 0.5x1-1x2 mm2.
Make sure that the top and bottom of the block are parallel.
- Remove complete
specimen head assembly (35) from trimming block and mount into specimen
arm, segment arc normally horizontal and set to 0o
- Loosen lever (6)
on support. Take off trimming block and replace it by knife carrier
assembly (9/10) with knife.
- Slide knife
carrier in its guide manually until knife is as near as possible to the
specimen (approx. 1mm). Controlling this adjustment through the
microscope at low magnification. Then cut clamping lever (6) into
knife-specimen alignment is made with the controls on the
knife support (3, 47), the knife carrier assembly (45) and the specimen
- Fill knife boat
with fresh ddH2O or 10% ethanol with pipette or syringe and adjust
water level to optimum reflection.
adjustment of knife is made using the reflection in the block
face. Incident light is recommended for standard glass knifes, back
illumination for diamond knives (switch over the light with
- For setting the
switchover point from slow cutting to fast return speed adjust the
upper edge of the cutting face just below the knife edge by rotating
the handwheel outer ring (15) while the main control lever is in its
- Preset automatic
specimen feed: ultra (57) red dot (70nm for glass and 50nm for diamond
knife) and semi feed (55) to green dot (0.35o)
values later for glass only.
- Set cutting speed
control knob (51) on control unit at green dot (50mm/sec) for glass
- Put change over
control (53) to SEMI (LED 54 is on).
- For automatic
start of sectioning with triangular glass knife press down control
lever (12) on handwheel to the lower stop. Observe the whole start of
sectioning through the stereomicroscope. The left hand remind on
control knob (51) for adjusting cutting speed.
- After taking off
the first section fragments reduce cutting speed without interrupting
observation through the microscope. When the first full face section
appears, rotate the control knob (51) on the control unit anticlockwise
until it clicks in (red dot 3mm/sec) and move switch (53) from SEMI to
ULTRA, LED (56) lits. Section thickness now corresponds to red dot
setting of ultra feed control knob (57) (0.07o=70
- You can now expect
a series of uniform ultrathin sections (generally after 3-5 sections).
The sections obtained are in the gold to mat silver interference color
- Any further
adjustment of the ultra feed control (57) can now be made.
- To remove a ribbon
of sections, switch off the motor drive with lever (12) immediately
after taking off a section only. Lever exactly horizontal make sure
green LED (63) is lit, otherwise the continuous warning signal will
start. If the red LED (62) is lit rotate handwheel (15/16) until green
LED (63) is on.
- Continuation of
serial sectioning after finishing off a ribbon: put main control lever
(12) in its lowest position, all other controls remain unchanged.
- Picking up and
- For ultrathin
(50-90 nm) sections. The easiest way to collect is to use uncoated
grids and carefully lower the grid, parallel with the surface of the
boat liquid, dull side downwards, onto the sections. Or putting the
grid (uncoated) under the liquid in the knife boat and then coming up
under the sections with the gird. Place the grid onto a piece of filter
paper with the sections facing upwards and let them dry. Stain with
uranyl acetate and lead citrate.
- For semi-thin
(0.5-1 Ám) sections. Transfer the section(s) with either a wire loop or
mounted eyelash to a drop of water on a clean glass slide - the section
should float in the drop. Place the slide on a hot plate and stain with
toluidine blue-O or Azure II-methylene blue.
- Trouble shootings:
edge wetting, block face wetting, chatter, section compression
and section nicks etc.