A Microtome is a sectioning device used for cutting extremely thin slices of material, known as sections. They are used in the preparation of slides for microscopy, allowing samples to be observed under transmitted light or electron radiation. Microtomes use steel, glass, or diamond blades depending upon the specimen being sliced and the desired thickness of the sections being cut.
Hand microtome – tissue is inserted into a cylinder and is cut by a rotary blade (the knife is usually fixed horizontally). The flywheel of this instrument is operated by hand, allowing for a clean cut to be made.
Sliding or sledge microtome – the sample is placed into a fixed holder (shuttle), which moves backwards and forwards across a knife.