Specialized Instrumentation Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) work by scanning samples with a focused beam of electrons. The sample’s atoms and the electrons interact, creating a signal. This signal is then combined with information on the beam position to produce an image. The images from a SEM are capable of resolution better than 1 nanometer. Heavy-duty, large-scale Sectioning Microtome. A microtome is used to cut extremely thin slices, or sections, of a wood sample. These sections can be between 50 nm and 100 µm. The thinness of the sections allows them to prepared for microscopic viewing. The Quintek Tree Ring Densitometer is used to get comprehensive information about tree ring density. An X-ray beam is passed through a sample tree core, while taking detailed images. Computer software automatically marks growth ring boundaries and calculates various density measurements (including overall sample density, density by growth ring, and latewood/early wood density). Electron Microscopy Sample Preparation. This vacuum deposition system applies a metallic coating to a sample within a vacuum. This process enables and enhances visual imaging in a scanning electron microscope. A stereo microscope provides low maginification observation of a sample. Light is reflected from the sample surface (as opposed to light shining through it). Two eye-pieces provide slightly different viewing angles, allowing 3d visualization of the sample. A micromechanical loading frame measures tension and compression strength of a small wood sample. Because of its size, very small samples can be tested, inclucing latewood versus earlywood strenth testing. Compound light microscopes use visible light and a series of lenses to magnify a sample. This microscope has fluoresence, polarizing, and dark field capabilities.