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Critical Point Drying

The procedure of critical point drying is an efficient me­thod for drying delicate samples for SEM applications. It preserves the surface structure of a specimen which could otherwise be damaged due to surface tension when changing from the liquid to gaseous state. In the past critical point drying was a time-consuming pro­cess with low sample reproducibility due to manual operation.

Before drying, many biological samples are commonly prepared through fixation and dehydration and coated after drying with a metal such as gold, platinum or pal­ladium to make their surfaces electrically conductive for the SEM analysis.