TO: Karen Bauer of Mayo,
We experienced this problem when I worked at another research facility. Yes, there is glass and paint dust getting on the slides, especially if you are using the "Plus" slides. The electrostatic charge of the slides attracts the dust. Be certain your dust catcher is clean and working properly. This will decrease it. We used the slide etcher for several hours daily because we were cutting several hundred slides daily mostly for IHC development and testing plus H&E and histochemistry.
The way we combated this problem was trial and error until we discovered that wash ing the etched slides in hot running water for 15-20 minutes then rinse in 3 changes of absolute alcohol and place in 60 degree oven to dry overnight. decreased the dust particles. You could still see some dust debris in the first two alcohol rinses. The alcohol rinses are to get the water off so the slides are not streaked. Drying the slides before placing the tissues on them gives the clarity they had before we started with the etching. It did not completely remove all the debris but did reduce it enough that there was only occasional interference with the staining or signal.
Finally, Leica came out with their slide label system and we demoed and purchased it. The savings in time (fast labeling compared to the etcher), water and quality of slide labeling far outweighed continuing with the etching system. It took several researchers noticing what we were having to do to get good quality labeled slides without the "dust" particles that interfered with the staining to rally for us to get the Leica system.
I suggest you consider the Leica slide and cassette labeling system to have dust particle free slides. And this is from a person who first used the TBS slide etching system in 1994 when it was the best we had and we were delighted to have it. However, due to speed and need for greater numbers of slides, there are better systems now available.
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