In contrast to mechanically working microtomes, the laser microtome does not require sample preparation techniques such as freezing, dehydration or embedding. It has the ability to slice tissue in its native state. Depending on the material being processed, slice thicknesses of 10 to 100 µm are feasible.
Due to the ultra short pulse duration of only a few femtoseconds (1 fs = 10-15 seconds) there is only very low energy of a few nanojoules (1 nJ = 10-9 joules) per laser pulse deposits into the tissue. This limits the interaction range to diameters below one micrometer (1 μm = 10-6 meters). Out of this range there is no thermal damage.
Moved by a fast scanner, the laser beam writes a cutting plane into the sample. A positioning unit moves the sample simultaneously, so that the sample can be processed within a short time.