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Trace Metals/MRI

The Trace Metals in Medicine Laboratory resources include:

Ultramicrotome for Biological Microscopy Sample Preparation

An ultramicrotome is an instrument used for cutting sections of a specimen to sub-micron thicknesses, compatible with analysis by transmission electron/x-ray microscopy.

The Trace Metals in Medicine Laboratory in University of Warwick School of Engineering houses a Reichert-Jung ultra-cut microtome, which is mostly used for sectioning resin-embedded biological specimens. The instrument operates at room temperature with a glass knife for trimming and sectioning to thicknesses of 1-5 μm, or a diamond knife (DiATOME Ultra 45°) for sectioning to thicknesses of 50-500 nm.

The colour of the sections (produced as a result of the thin-film interference effect) can be used to verify the thickness of ultrathin sections. Sections may be removed from the water bath using a loop made from platinum wire and air-dried onto TEM grids or microscope slides for analysis.

The adjoining lab also houses an Olympus IX51 inverted optical microscope for imaging of sectioned specimens.

For more information please visit the facility page and to discuss potential use, please contact Dr Joanna Collingwood (

Ultramicrotome sectioning diagram

Ultramicrotome sectioning of resin-embedded tissue. (a) Sectioning using a diamond blade. (b) Sections collected in the water bath show colour characteristic of their thickness. Black arrows mark sections of thickness 170-230 nm, according to the chart shown in (c). Red arrows show sections 500 nm in thickness. (c) Section colour reference chart, used to verify section thickness via the thin film interference effect. (d) Collecting sections from the water bath using a platinum loop. (e) Depositing sections onto the surface of a copper TEM grid.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) probe for in-vitro samples

MRI Probe (for imaging at 9.4 T): we have a state-of-the-art MR microscopy probe that utilizes the 400 MHz spectrometer in Millburn House, under the Science Cities Translational Medicine 2 Programme. It is presently configured for in-vitro work, and the coils are primarily volume coils for 1H imaging; we also have a surface coil, and a 19F volume coil for small samples (<5mm)

MRI Probe

In-Vitro MRI Probe


Reichert-Jung Ultramicrotome


Olympus IX511 Microscope