Serial-section electron microscopy using automated tape-collecting ultramicrotome (ATUM). Academic Article uri icon


  • The Automated Tape-Collecting Ultramicrotome (ATUM) is a tape-reeling device that is placed in a water-filled diamond knife boat to collect serial sections as they are cut by a conventional ultramicrotome. The ATUM can collect thousands of sections of many different shapes and sizes, which are subsequently imaged by a scanning electron microscope. This method has been used for large-scale connectomics projects of mouse brain, and is well suited for other smaller-scale studies of tissues, cells, and organisms. Here, we describe basic procedures for preparing a block for ATUM sectioning, handling of the ATUM, tape preparation, post-treatment of sections, and considerations for mapping, imaging, and aligning the serial sections.

publication date

  • 2019