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J Microsc. 2001 Jun;202(Pt 3):468-72.

Cylindrical diameters method for calibrating section thickness in serial electron microscopy.

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Department of Biology and Program in Neuroscience, 5 Cummington St., Boston University, Boston MA 02215, USA.


An estimate of section thickness is required for measuring structures in serial section microscopy. Mean section thickness is estimated reliably by averaging the ratios of the diameters of cylindrical objects, such as mitochondria, to the number of sections they span. This cylindrical diameters method improves the accuracy of section thickness as inferred from the colour of sections floating in water. The cylindrical diameters method gives the same answer as that obtained by the minimal folds


It is preferable because it can be done in a series that has no folds that can distort and obscure the objects that are being measured.

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