Quantitative serial sectioning analysis

J. Alkemper*, P. W. Voorhees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


A method for serial sectioning is presented that allows one to take about 20 sections per hour with spacings in the range 1-20 μm between sections. The alignment of the cross-sections is done with a linear variable differential transformer; it is thus independent of the microstructure of the sample and does not rely upon markers implanted in the sample. The alignment errors as well as tilts and rotation errors between sections associated with the new method are found to be negligible. Once all the sections are captured in a computer a three-dimensional image can be constructed. This image can be viewed interactively and rotated, thus allowing the direct observation of three-dimensional shapes. It can further be used to determine a vast array of microstructural parameters including those that cannot be determined from planar sections. The technique is illustrated through the reconstruction of the microstructure of a cast standard aluminium alloy specimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-394
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Aluminium alloys
  • Microstructural tomography
  • Serial sectioning
  • Three-dimensional reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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