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at the interface of physics & neuroscience

Freeze Substitution Automate System

Company: Leica Microsystems
Model: AF

  • Dehydration of frozen biological samples at low temperature.
  • Dehydration of chemically fixed biological samples at subzero temperatures according to the PLT technique (progressive dehydration).
  • Infiltration of dehydrated samples with embedding media at subzero and higher temperatures.
  • UV- polymerisation of embedded biological samples at subzero temperatures in capsules of various kinds or in flat embedding moulds.
  • Conventional dehydration, embedding and heat polymerisation used for biological samples.

Leica Freeze Substitution Automate System

Automatic Vibrating Blade Microtome (Vibratome)

Company: Leica Microsystems
Model: Leica VT1200

  • The Leica VT1200S automatic vibrating blade microtome (vibratome) is designed to section fixed or unfixed tissue at a thickness ranging between 30 and 400µm.
  • The vertical deflection can be adusted using the “vibrocheck”, providing best results.
  • A “minichiller” controls the temperature of the buffer during sectioning.

Vibratome VT1200S

Carbon Evaporator

Company: Quorum Technologies
Model: Q150T

The Q150T E is a high vacuum carbon coater, ideal to obtain highly stable carbon films allowing a better adhesion of the specimen to the grid, before examination under the electron microscope (TEM).

  • High vacuum carbon coating ideal for transmission electron microscopy.
  • Precise thickness control using the film thickness monitor option.
  • “Intelligent” recognition system, automatically detects the type of coating.
  • Simple, fast and reproductible.
  • Suitable for carbon coating and other metal evaporation.

Carbon Evaporator Q150T E

Automatic Plunge Freezer (Vitrobot)

Company: FEI Company
Model: Vitrobot Mark IV

The Vitrobot is an automated vitrification device for plunge-freezing of aqueous suspensions. A controlled environment prevents artefacts. Grids transfer from the vitrification medium into liquid nitrogen is automatic, ensuring reproducible sample freezing and high sample throughput.

  • Temperature, number of blottings, blotting pressure, and drain time can be programmed.
  • Easy and flexible instrument control.
  • Semi-automated grid transfer.
  • Frozen samples can be stored at the NEUROPHOTONICS CENTRE in the cryo-biological storage system.

Vitrobot Mark IV

High Pressure Freezer and Rapid Transfer System

Company: Leica Microsystems
Model: EM PACT2 and EM RTS

The high-pressure freezer is used to prepare biological samples by cryo-fixation (samples up to 200µm in thickness).

  • Live cell carrier is available for cell cultures. Cells can be first examined with a light microscope and then rapidly frozen (in only five seconds) with the EM PACT2-EM RTS.
  • A microbiopsy system is available for rapid transfer of tissue into the EMPACT2.
  • The EM PACT2 can be easily transported.
  • Frozen samples can be stored at the Neurophotonics Centre in the cryo-biological storage system.


Ultramicrotome and cryo-ultramicrotome

Company: Leica Microsystems
Ultramicrotome models: Leica Ultracut EM UCT Leica Ultracut EM UC7
Cryo-Chamber: Leica EM FC

Ultramicrotomes are used to prepare semi and ultra-thin sections of biological samples (thickness ranging between 50-200 nm) that can be examined under the electron microscope


Leica Ultracut UCT

A cryo-chamber is available to cut biological samples at low temperature (-15°C to – 185°C).  Frozen ultra and semi-thin sections can be stored at the Neurophotonics Centre in a cryo-biological storage system.


Leica Ultracut UC7 and Cryo-chamber FC7

Electron Microscopy | Training & Reservation

Each user must have gone through a complete training in order to use any equipment of the facility.

Reservation must be addressed to:

Martin Parent, Ph.D
Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec
2601, chemin de la Canardière, F-6500
Tel.:(418) 663-5747


Users who have received a complete training are allowed to reserve. NEUROPHOTONICS CENTRE members have priority over external users.

To reserve, please contact:

Martin Parent, Ph.D
Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec
2601, chemin de la Canardière, F-6500
Tel.:(418) 663-5747

Fee schedule

InstrumentNeurophotonics feeOutside fee
FEI TECNAI 12, 120 kV, TEM45$ / h without assistance67.80 / h without assistance
 60$ / h with assistance90$ / h with assistance
Leica Ultramicrotome110$ / h15$ / h
Leica Cryo-Ultramicrotome120$ / h30$ / h
Leica Microbiopsy Transfer System15$ / h30$ / h
Leica EMPACT2-EM RTS High Pressure Freezer30$ / h50$ / h
Leica EM AFS Automatic Freeze Substitution80$ / run120$ / run
Evaporator Coater, Quorum Q150T E 20$ / run35$ / run
Leica VT1200S, Vibrating Blade Microtome20$ / h35$ / h
FEI Vitrobot Vitrification Robot (Plunge Freezer)30$ / h45$ / h


 Neurophotonics feeOutside fee
Embedding30$ / sample45$ / sample
Sectioning30$ / sample45$ / sample
Cryo-sectioning100$ / sample150$ / sample
Cryo-sample preparation (plunge freezing, including material, grids and storage box)80$ / h120$ / h

Training and Assistance

 Neurophotonics feeOutside fee
Technical assistance50$ / h75$ / h
Transmission electron microscope training50$ / h, 3 h minimum75$ / h, 3 h minimum
Ultramicrotome training150$ / h, 3 h minimum75$ / h, 3 h minimum


 Neurophotonics feeOutside fee
Grids (Cu/Ni) with
formvar film
0,50$ / grid1$ / grid
Grids (Cu/Ni) with formvar film and carbon1$ / grid2$ / grid
Grids (Cu/Ni)30$ / vial35$ / vial
Grid Box20$ / each30$ / each
Cryo-storage box
(contains 4 grids)
10$ / each15$ / each

Package deal

 Neurophotonics feeOutside fee
Transmission Electron Microscope, FEI TECNAI 12, 120 kV21 500$ / 78 h
3 000$ / 156 h
3 000$ / 78 h
6 000$ / 156 h
Leica Ultramicrotome12 500$ / year5 000$ / year
Leica Cryo-ultramicrotome13 500$ / year7 000$ / year
Leica EMPACT2-EM RTS High Pressure Freezer2 500$ / year5 000$ / year
Leica VT1200S, Vibrating Blade Microtome1 500$ / year3 000$ / year

1Users provide their own diamond knife
3 hours per week. Additional hours will be charged at regular rates.
Training and supplies are not included.

Electron Microscopy Facility – Overview

The electron microscopy facility located at the Neurophotonics Centre provides advanced technical tools for transmission electron microscopy.

Our staff offers complete processing of biological samples, including cryo-fixation, embedding and semi and ultra-thin sectioning with ultra-microtome.
Complete training for each equipment is also available.

Martin Parent, Ph.D
Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec
2601, chemin de la Canardière, F-6500
Québec (Québec), G1J 2G3
Tel.:(418) 663-5747