microwaving slides

From:Steven Slap

Hi Deb

I'm probably the one person you found in the archives who was strongly
against microwaving slides.  As you pointed out, the paraffin, which is
non-polar, is not heated by the microwave energy.  The microwaves heat, and
quickly evaporate, any water.  The microwave energy also heats the glass
slides ang glass coverslips and the tissue sections themselves.  The problem
is that most commercial microwaves put out much more microwave energy than
you need to do this job (you are dealing with very little water) and this
excess energy can convert to heat damage to your sections (drying
artifacts).  You can set your microwave to lower power settings, but all you
get in that case are shorter bursts of full power microwave energy,
separated by periods of no power.  You can use a water load in the microwave
cavity to divert some of the excess microwave energy away from your
sections, but this will also change the microwave standing wave pattern
within the cavity, creating hot and cold areas.

All and all, since there are very efficient slide dryers available on the
market using convection drying, such as the one sold by Mopec, I don't see
the advantage of using a microwave for this application, given the potential

best regards,
Steven Slap

Marketing Manager/Microwave Product Specialist
Hacker Instruments & Industries, Inc.

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