Welcome to this week’s blog article where we will focus on better understanding key features of cryostats. When you are thinking of purchasing a research or clinical cryostat, you’ll come across many technical specifications details. These can be difficult to decipher. We’re here to help at Precisionary Instruments! Below, we’ll introduce and explain all of the key technical specification features for cryostats, what they mean, and why they are important.
What are the key features when it comes to evaluating cryostat models?
The ultimate goal of having a reliable cryostat is to produce thin tissue sections that are consistent. The key features for research and clinical cryostats to help ensure you achieve these goals include:
- Compressors: Make sure your cryostat has the appropriate number of compressors.
- Defrost: Your cryostat should have controllable defrost cycles.
- Blade holder system: Since cutting is what a cryostat is used for, you need a robust blade holder system with anti-roll plates.
Let’s discuss each of these technical features below.
Importance of cryostat compressors
Cryostats come with either a single compressor or double compressor systems. This feature refers to the number of compressors. A single compressor cryostat uses one compressor to control both the temperature inside the cooling chamber and the freezing plate. A limitation of having a single compressor cryostat is that you cannot control the freezing plate’s temperature separately. In addition, if the single compressor breaks down, your entire cryostat will no longer cool.
Double compressor cryostats come with two separate compressors, where there is a separate compressor for controlling the temperature of the freeze chamber and another for the freeze shelf. Thus, you can control the temperature of the freeze shelf, and it can cool at a faster rate. The freeze chamber can also achieve lower chamber temperatures. With a double compressor system, compressor failures are less likely to occur.
Cryostat defrosting & UV lamps
Because cryostats are used to process frozen tissue sections for research and clinical studies, the equipment must be appropriately disinfected on a regular basis. Cleaning the cryostat’s freeze chamber is typically done on a daily basis. What is a “defrost” cycle? During a defrost cycle, the compressor(s) go into a hot gas phase and for a preset period of time circulates warm air into the chamber. This melts any frost or ice inside the freeze chamber surfaces, allowing the fluids to drain into a sealed waste container.
A cryostat’s defrost cycle helps the cleaning job, and is typically done during the night when no one is working. Cryostats can come with manual defrost cycles (this means that you as the user must choose the time and activate the defrost) or automated defrost cycles (this means the defrost cycles can be set on a daily timer). It’s much easier to have a cryostat with an automated defrost cycle, because you don’t need to worry about when and how often to defrost it.
Another cryostat feature for disinfection is having a UV lamp. This feature is actually really important for working with research tissue and/or clinical frozen sections. UV light helps kill bacteria and viruses.
Anti-roll plates to help collect sections
Since cryostats are used for cutting tissue, having a robust blade holder system is key for successful sectioning. Make sure your cryostat has a large flat cutting stage, with an easily-adjustable knife holder. Look for safety features, such as a knife ejector and anti-roll plate. The anti-roll plate is extremely helpful in assisting you in making flat tissue sections (i.e., to avoid tissue curling).
Precisionary Cryostat CF-6100
Based on all of these key features above, we have designed and built our company’s new cryostat to have the best designs. All Precisionary Cryostat CF-6100 models come with a double compressor system, because it is far more robust and dependable. Our Precisionary Cryostat CF-6100 are built with automatic defrost cycles and UV lamps. Finally, our cryostats come with a full knife holder system with an anti-roll plate and knife ejector. And what’s so great about all of these features? We include them in one package for the Precisionary Cryostat CF-6100, so that there are no extra hidden charges for additional features or parts!
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