Edited by Thomas E. Phillips University of Missouri

Selected postings from the Microscopy Listserver from March 1, 2018, to May 2, 2018. Complete listings and subscription information can be obtained at . Postings may have been edited to conserve space or for clarity.

Specimen Preparation: osmium and uranyl acetate My fi rst question: Is osmium better purchased made up in vials or made from crystals in the lab. I prefer the vials. I feel they are safer and the solution is protected from degradation. Second question: Does uranyl acetate (UA) power degrade over time? We have a bottle that is 2+ years old, purchased from Polysciences . JoAnn Buchanan buchsmith@gmail. com Wed Mar 7

Osmium: I have the impression that 4% OsO 4 (stored in sealed glass ampoules under nitrogen at 4° C) stains less strongly aſt er storage for over 20 years; the crystalline form works well aſt er storage for more than 20 years. Small tip for dissolving: I snap off the tip of the glass vial, add the water, seal tip with a little amount of Parafi lm/Nescofi lm and sonicate in an ultrasonic water bath for approximately 5 minutes in a fume hood. Uranyl acetate: I use UA bought in the early nineties, works perfectly. Peter Heimann T u Mar 8 In our hands, we always work with 1 g Osmium crystal (sealed ampoules). As we have a substantial sample preparation load in the lab, the fi nal solution (1-2%) is consumed in the next month approximately, but I suppose that it is very stable. In uranyl acetate case, we have been using the powder from a bottle older than 20 years without noticing any degradation related to a new one. In my opinion, the two substances are remarkably stable over time. Juan Luis T u Mar 8 I want to share my experience with UA. About ten years ago, I inherited a bottle of UA dated 1960s. I used it to do girds staining and negative staining. It did stain without any noticeable problems, but then I got a new bottle UA of EMS from another PI, with which my staining looked fresher and less background. T e bottom line is the fresh US does give better staining. Your two-year-old UA should be fi ne. Gang (Greg) Ning T u Mar 8

Specimen Preparation:

non-crystalline clay or putty for X-ray diffraction I have a request that maybe your friend down the hall who works

in X-ray diff raction may be able to answer. I am working on some small metallic glass samples trying to get an X-ray diff raction pattern that represents the metallic phase. T e samples do not fi t my sample holder so I machined a special holder but this still requires some kind of mounting material to hold the sample. My clay idea works well, but I get X-ray peaks from the clay. So I am looking for a clay or putty material that is noncrystalline. Roy Beavers Fri Apr 27 Try silly putty or mounting putty: another-topic/what-are-the-ingredients-of-silly-putty/ . Silly Putty is made primarily from silicone and color pigments. Silly Putty was discovered in 1943 by James Wright and introduced to the public in 1950 by Peter Hodgson. Crayola acquired the exclusive manufacturing rights to Silly Putty in 1977. T e formulas are considered proprietary. Or from Walmart: Duck Mounting Putty, Removable, 56G, 12PK/CT, BE - DUCPTY2CT Mounting Putty is ideal for temporary mounting of paper items such as posters, charts and decorations to nearly any surface without damage


to the paper item or surface you are mounting it on. It provides a safe alternative to tape, nails, glues, tacks and staples. Mounting putty is nontoxic and easily removable and reusable. Conforms to ASTM-4236. Edward Basgall Wed May 2

Image Analysis and Processing: vector graphics for images

We are interested in updating our photo editing soſt ware, with an eye primarily on good vector graphics for annotation purposes. I would appreciate receiving thoughts and suggestions; what do you use, what do you like about it, as well as what may be a little tricky/unsatisfactory (if anything) about your program. Chris Holp holpc@fi rstenergycorp. com Fri Apr 6 I fi nd Adobe Illustrator to be my favorite choice. Although it costs money, everything is well-automated and there are tons of help websites, tutorials, and videos online so that I never need more than a minute or two to fi gure out a new command. T e ability to do my annotations FAST more than makes up for the yearly cost of the Adobe CC subscription, given my hourly charge out rate. If you want free, Inkscape seems good, but I've not bothered to learn it in detail. I do all of my analysis in MATLAB and use commands like >save ( gcf,‘fi lename.pdf’,‘pdf’ ); to save my MATLAB fi gures as PDF, which Illustrator will read natively as vector graphics. T at's the fastest, most effi cient way to turn data into fi gures I've found. I imagine Python, etc., have similar tricks using either PDF or SVG. No fi nancial interest—just a satisfi ed customer. Chad M. Parish Mon Apr 9


dealing with old computers on microscopes I have been dealing with an issue that quite a number of computers (that are hooked up to TEM, SEM, and other tools) get outdated (and obsolete) while tools are more or less in good shape. When I contacted each manufacturer for a new computer, they usually recommend a more modern versions of soſt ware with a newer computer that easily cost over $10K. (T ey simply don’t deal with Window XP based computer anymore.) I have more than ten tools whose computers are almost ten years old and am looking for a more aff ordable way to replace these computers. I wonder if anyone who deals with the same issue could enlighten me. In-Tae Bae Sun Mar 25 T ere is a good reason why OEMs don’t want to deal with XP computers - replacing PCs is more straightforward and easier than maintaining older models, and being money-making organizations OEMs must recoup costs of developing and manufacturing upgrades with associated overhead. You mentioned the price of computer/SW upgrades is between US$10K to US$20K, this is quite reasonable, consid- ering the amount of design eff ort put into it. T at being said - you can reduce the cost of dealing with forced obsolescence and refusal of service by trading money for maintenance eff ort. First and foremost, make backup copies of hard-drives on your PCs, since soſt ware is the most “non-replaceable” part of the instrument and the HD failure is not “if,”

doi: 10.1017/S1551929518000627 • 2018 July

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