/DiAtome Products
DiAtome Products2017-01-19T20:59:19+00:00

Diatome Products

Since 1970, Diatome Limited in Switzerland have been producing diamond knives for ultramicrotomy and have established the most comprehensive range of knives for sectioning biological and material science specimens at room temperature and cryo conditions.

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The manufacturing of diamond knives is an exacting technique, commencing with the careful selection of natural gem quality, evenly crystallized rhombic dodecahedron stones of the highest purity, free of intergrowth and with minimum inclusions. Accurate crystal orientation and precise pre-cutting are essential for the quality of the knife edge. This allows the diamond to be polished parallel to the cutting edge, producing an extremely sharp, score-free and durable cutting edge. Sophisticated testing and research methods are used in the development and manufacturing of Diatome diamond knives and include ultramicrotomy, light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy etc.

Each knife undergoes a stringent series of optical tests during manufacture with a final sectioning test and examination of the section under the TEM to verify the condition and specification of the knife edge.

Diatome knives are compatible with all ultramicrotomes and the boat is designed in such a manner that the water surface is horizontal when the clearance angle is set. This results in a stationary water surface with a good reflection, and because the surface of the diamond is hydrophilic, the cutting edge is easily wetted. This condition is essential for sectioning Lowicryls and other hydrophilic embedding media. The diamond is fastened in a metal shank that is securely fixed to the boat, the cementing material that seals the boat and the knife is also hydrophilic which also assists the wetting of the cutting edge.

The development of a diamond knife is a continuous process and constant improvements and innovative solutions are introduced as ultrathin sectioning techniques and requirements evolve.

The Diatome ultra 45° diamond knife is recognised as the knife for routine sectioning of most materials and provides a good compromise between section quality and durability.

The ultra 45° is recommended for ultrathin sectioning of extremely hard and brittle materials such as ceramics. In this domain it has replaced the formerly recommended 55° diamond knife.

The ultra 35° diamond knife has shown to markedly reduce compression, provide smoother section surfaces and provide better structural preservation of ultrathin sections. The ultra 35° diamond knife can also be used for sectioning Lowicryls and non-homogenous specimens, as well as non-decalcified bone, dental materials, etc. The ultra 35° knives are perfect for sectioning relatively soft materials including metals and polymers, as well as hard specimens such as semiconductors, superconducting oxides, catalysts and nano-crystalline ceramics, etc. The ultra 35° diamond knife has demonstrated it’s usefulness as a standard knife for the majority of applications in both biological and materials research.

For cryo applications, the cryo 25° diamond knife has been designed for ultrathin sectioning of frozen hydrated specimens. The 25° angle results in the least possible compression and the best structure preservation. The cryo immuno, the first cryo knife with a diamond platform, guarantees the best possible sectioning for immunohistochemistry, the diamond platform guarantees easy and gentle section collection. Sections are collected directly from the diamond surface using a loop and a sucrose/methylcellulose droplet. The 35° cutting angle leads to a considerable reduction in mechanical stresses and therefore to improved structure preservation in sucrose-protected samples.

The cryo 35° / 45° diamond knives have demonstrated their usefulness as a standard knife for the low temperature ultrathin sectioning of polymers, rubber, paints, etc, the 35° angle representing a balanced compromise between section quality and durability.

The cryo 45° diamond knife is well suited for routine cryo sectioning of most materials.

For successful ultramicrotomy in biology and materials science, precise trimming is mandatory. The Diatome trimming blades trim 45 and trim 20 will fulfil all your trimming requirements, allowing quick, easy and accurate trimming. Due to the extreme sharpness of the diamond blades, less mechanical damage is applied to the sample during trimming. Very shiny sample surfaces and precise sides are the result.

The trim 45 produces pyramidal sides with an inclined angle of 45° and the trim 20 produces pyramidal sides with an inclined angle of 20°.

Histo knives are designed for semithin sectioning of hard and soft biological and material research specimens, non embedded or embedded in acrylic or epoxy resins. They are also available for the semithin sectioning of material under cryo conditions, and can be provided with a boat for wet sectioning using a DMSO/water mixture or in triangular holders for dry sectioning. The boats are made from a special copper-nickel alloy, which guarantees the best possible thermal properties for cryo sectioning.

For 3D reconstruction it is imperative not to lose a single section. Diatome have developed the histo jumbo diamond knife fitted with a large boat which will accept a standard glass microscope slide 75mm x 25mm which enables ribbons of serial sections to be floated directly onto the slide surface.

High quality Diatome diamond knives are not just required for producing ultrathin and semi-thin sections, but also for surfacing all biological and industrial specimens for AFM investigation. In order to achieve the best results for AFM investigation, only the highest quality diamond knives should be used. Diatome ultra AFM and cryo AFM knives are specially tested to ensure that they meet the increased quality requirements of AFM investigation. AFM knives produce extremely smooth sample surfaces and guarantee the best possible structure preservation.

The innovative ultra sonic oscillating diamond knife was developed in collaboration with Dr. Daniel Studer, Lab. of Anatomy, University of Berne. The ultra sonic knife produces ultrathin sections almost free of compression. The sections become thinner at the same thickness setting: since the volume of the section remains the same, the increased length leads to a decrease in thickness. The best possible structure preservation may be expected, using the ultra sonic knife.

The ultra sonic diamond knife has been used to successfully section biological samples embedded in a variety of resins which include Epon, Araldite, EM Bed and acrylic resins such as Lowicryls and LR White. The knife has also provided excellent ultrathin sections of polymers, including PS, PMMA, ABS, HIPS and modified PP etc.

Static Line II ionizer is used in combination with our cryo diamond knives, quality cryo sections are obtained at a level that was never possible before
Static Line II ionizer

In cryo-ultramicrotomy electrostatic charging is a major limiting factor. Cryo-sections tend to stick at the knife or tend to fly away. When the Static Line II ionizer is used in combination with our cryo diamond knives, quality cryo sections are obtained at a level that was never possible before. Section collection is easier as the sections are discharged by the ionizer so they stay in place.

The Static Line II ionizer has been used for successfully cutting all types of frozen samples, including sucrose protected tissue, frozen hydrated cells and tissue, cell cultures in gelatin/sucrose, polymers and paints etc.

Electrostatic charging not only occurs at low temperature in a cryochamber, but also during room temperature ultramicrotomy, whether dry sectioning or with a water bath.

The Static Line II ionizer is a versatile addition to your ultramicrotomy, regardless of your application, room temperature work, cutting dry or wet sections and cryo-ultramicrotomy can all benefit from the use of the ionizer.

The PERFECT LOOP allows you to pick up sections consistently, without causing them any damage. It is the only loop currently available where the external diameter is the same as the grid and the internal diameter slightly larger than the observed area in the electron microscope.

The thickness is about 40 microns. Due to the fact that the LOOP and the grid are of the same diameter they are attracted to one another when in water and are drawn together by the surface tension of the water. Even if the section touches the inside of the grid during blotting the area of contact is minor and, therefore, the section is not damaged.

When the grid is removed from the LOOP the sections always remain in place – on the grid.

All Diatome knives can be re-sharpened an unlimited number of times and Diatome offer a re-sharpening and exchange service. Resharpened Diatome knives undergo the same stringent optical checking and sectioning test as new knives, a diamond knife resharpened by Diatome is the same high quality as a new one. During resharpening a knife may be reworked into another type (ultra to cryo, 45° to 35°, etc).

You may have your knife resharpened, or exchanged against a new one at a slightly elevated price.

In the exchange service a type change is possible (ultra to cryo, 45° to 35°, small knives to large ones, etc). This, of course includes changing the boat to your desired style. (histo knives are excluded from this offer).

We guarantee a fast resharpening service for all our knives including the oldest knives ever purchased!

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