cryo prep Archives - Quorum Technologies Ltd


In this series Dr Anna Walkiewicz, the Quorum Application Specialist, will talk about different processes within the sample preparation workflow and breaking them down into simple steps, solving common problems and looking at how to improve efficiency and efficacy.

Coating for SEM. How to choose vacuum level, metal and thickness.

In this Coffee Talk Dr Anna Walkiewicz will guide you through metal coating for SEM imaging. During the tutorial, you will learn what metal to choose for different applications and how coating process parameters influence coating quality.

Register here


In this series Dr Anna Walkiewicz, the Quorum Application Specialist, will talk about different processes within the sample preparation workflow and breaking them down into simple steps, solving common problems and looking at how to improve efficiency and efficacy.

The first coffee talk, The Scary Vacuum, will be addressing issues regarding the vacuum: why do we need to consider if our samples are sensitive to the change of pressure and how they will behave in the vacuum environment.  Dr Anna Walkiewicz will be giving advice how to prepare samples in the correct way, so we see their natural appearance rather than an outcome of the pressure change modifying their morphology. Register here Coffee Talks with Dr Anna Walkiewicz – The Scary Vacuum 14th September – Quorum Technologies Ltd



See a piece below from our customers at the Cambridge Advanced Imaging Centre at Cambridge University.

Cambridge Advanced Imaging Centre (CAIC) forms the hub of a network that draws together imaging activity across the whole University to serve the biomedical community. Many powerful modern imaging techniques have recently been developed, yet their exploitation in biology and biomedical research has largely been prevented by the high cost of their translation into widely available instruments and the specialist skills required for their use, including handling the vast volumes of data they generate. As a consequence, instruments developed in laboratories within specific Cambridge research programmes are often not available to the University’s wider biomedical research community.

Our Verios 460 SEM is equipped with a Quorum PP3010T cryo-SEM preparation system. Cryo-SEM allows imaging of soft, hydrated biological or materials samples in a frozen state. One of the major advantages of cryo-SEM is that samples can be imaged with minimal preparation without the need of any prior fixation or dehydration steps; a disadvantage is that sample throughput is fairly low compared to other methods. Specimens are mounted on an appropriate cryo-SEM shuttle, are plunge-frozen in slushed liquid nitrogen and then transferred to a cooled prep stage. Once on the prep stage, samples can be fractured, sublimed to remove any residual ice, and coated to improve contrast and conductivity (CAIC routinely uses a platinum target). Then, the sample is transferred onto the SEM cryo-stage for imaging. As cryo-SEM requires about 2h of run-up and run-down time of the system apart from the actual imaging time, we recommend half-day or whole-day bookings.

Some images below from their cryo-SEM



Cryo-SEM of microcapsules
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) are extremely important in human physiology. The primary source is typically obtained from fish oils. Whilst there is scientific evidence linking the consumption of ω-3 PUFAs to reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer, high blood pressure and blood circulation – the daily intake in many Western societies falls below the recommended minimum levels. Taking supplements and enrichment of foods is an ideal way to increase the ω-3 PUFAs levels in the diet.

Microencapsulation with modified cellulose by spray-drying provides an alternative way of supplementing where the final product is a fish oil powder additive. The cellulose coating surrounding the oil also improved the stability against oxidative rancidity for up to 12 – 24 months.

The microstructure and encapsulation efficiency can be determined by various methods including cryo-electron microscopy. The cryo-SEM micrograph below shows a variety of spray-dried microcapsules ranging from 1.5 to 17 μm, prepared for imaging using the Quorum PP3010. Preparation includes applying a thin layer on mounting media, vitrification in slushed N2 (-210 °C) and sputtering with Pt (1 – 2 nm). Inset image shows the cellulose coating of a fractured capsule of diameter ≈ 25 μm with wall coating thickness ≈ 571 nm.

Dr M. S. Taylor


To all our customers, suppliers, and partners,

I hope that you, your family and friends are safe and well in these unprecedented times. I wanted to update you concerning the measures that Quorum Technologies has put in place to counter the impact of the pandemic on our business and how we are continuing to support users of Quorum equipment.

Quorum Technologies remained open for business throughout the pandemic, thanks to the flexibility and cooperation of our staff and the continued support of our customers and suppliers. Thank you for helping us to make it this far.

One of the reasons we felt it essential to keep operating was that our sample preparation equipment for Electron Microscopes was seen as a key technology for essential medical research. I am proud to say that, during the lockdown, we provided support and equipment to customers who are directly involved in research into the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and hopefully contributed in a small way towards eventually beating this virus.

Communication during the pandemic:

Our production sites in Laughton and Lewes were closed to external visitors at the start of lockdown. We have now opened again, with some restrictions:

  • All visits are by appointment only.
  • Instead of visiting the factory, your contact at Quorum may suggest off-site alternatives.
  • If you do come to the factory, you will be required to comply with social-distancing measures, wear a face-mask, and follow strict guidelines on handwashing and sanitisation of work areas.

Many of our staff were directed to work from home, in keeping with the instructions issued by the U.K. government, or were furloughed during the lockdown. We have reorganised our offices and put in place additional measures to comply with guidelines for a CoViD-secure workplace and are now recalling staff to full-time work. Some back-office staff will continue to work from home but will be contactable as normal.

When contacting Quorum by phone, please use the main switchboard number, +44 (0) 1323 810981, and your call will be redirected to the appropriate number.

While we have been lucky in that no one at Quorum has yet contracted CoViD-19, the virus is still circulating in the U.K., and we may have unplanned absences due to illness or quarantine. For that reason, we cannot guarantee that individual staff members will always be available, and we continue to ask that you direct your calls and emails to teams, rather than to individuals, to enable a prompt response.

Our team emails are:

Accounts receivable/payable:         [email protected] 

Procurement:                                   [email protected]

Product sales:                                  [email protected]

Technical support:                            [email protected]

Supply of goods

Our Purchasing team has been working closely with our suppliers to ensure a continued supply of key parts, but there has been some disruption in supply chains which has impacted some of our older instruments. We are currently unable to guarantee lead-times for the following products:

K975X/K975S Turbo-Pumped Thermal Evaporators

K750X Peltier-Cooled EM Freeze Dryer

K775X Liquid Nitrogen Cooled Turbo-Pumped EM Freeze Dryer

K1050X RF Plasma Etcher/Asher/Cleaner

Customers with an urgent need to guarantee supply should contact the sales team as soon as possible to discuss. You can reach our sales team via the main switchboard number or by emailing them at [email protected].

Field service and installations

We have resumed field service activities, subject to complying with CoViD-secure guidelines. If you want to schedule a visit by our service engineers, you will be asked to provide information on the measures in place at your facility so we can conduct a risk assessment before scheduling a visit.

Unfortunately, our ability to travel overseas continues to be constrained by travel bans in certain countries and by the need to comply with quarantine requirements in others. We recognise that our equipment can be vital to research and we will travel where we can, but it may not be possible in every case. For example, if your country has a prohibition on visitors from the U.K. or requires an extended period of quarantine on arrival, we would be unable to schedule a field visit. Where travel is not possible, we will do our best to offer remote support by phone or email.

You can reach our service team via the main switchboard number or by emailing them at [email protected].

Thank you again for your support throughout this difficult period. We are, more than ever, grateful for that support and proud of the fact that you choose to work with us. I will update you again if we make further changes but please do not hesitate to contact me in the meantime if you have any concerns or questions.

Thank you for working with Quorum Technologies.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Larkin

Managing Director
Quorum Technologies Ltd



Judges House, Lewes Road,
Laughton, East Sussex.

+44 1323 810981

[email protected]


Working Hours

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8.30 – 4.00 pm Fri

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