Scanning Electron Microscopy


The Scanning electron microscope (SEM) is now an indispensable tool for the study and the description of diatoms. Many new species have been described from SEM preparations and problems now arise with the preservation of designated types and other comparative material. Moisture contributes to the deterioration of diatom stubs. Special care must be taken to store stubs in vacuum desiccators in order to keep heavy metal coatings from peeling from the siliceous surfaces of diatoms. One alternative is to mount the designated type on a coverglass so that it can be inverted, mounted in Hyrax and preserved indefinitely for light microscopic observation. It is recommended that additional prepared slides and dried material be deposited in a museum repository, along with the designated type, so that it may be used for future SEM study.

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