There are glass-faced storage cabinets, the lockable type that hold drugs; then there are specialized cabinets which incorporate environmental control systems. At the top of these equipment classes, there are Cryostat Machines. Built to maintain exactingly low cryogenic temperatures, this device type is used in medical installations to freeze and store biological samples. Just to be clear, the clinically stored specimens aren’t merely chilled, they’re quick-frozen at sub-zero temperatures.
The Art of Freeze Sectioning
Cutting to the chase, Cryostat Machines are designed to store perfectly preserved tissue sections. The very fine slices of organic material can’t develop tiny ice crystals, for those would rupture cell walls. Neither can they accumulate any watery condensate, for that filmy coating would ruin the integrity of the sample. Put it this way, what if a frozen section held in a cryostat machine was part of a biopsy test? Someone, somewhere in a medical institution, was being tested for cancer. A surgeon had cut the specimen free, and now it was waiting in the cryostat chamber. An hour later, a lab tech accesses the frozen section and determines whether a tumorous growth is benign or cancerous. If the equipment isn’t working properly, the biopsy has to be done all over again, and that at-risk patient has lost valuable time. Clearly, this is a piece of clinical apparatus that must be calibrated and maintained regularly.
Establishing a Quality-Assurance Program
Lots of machines require regular maintenance. An annual checkup keeps a rough-running piece of equipment functional. As a result of the inspection, a machine’s lifespan increases. If we were talking about a cooler, the upshot of this work is food freshness and beverage frostiness. A step up from here, freezer maintenance prevents food poisoning, which is a clear-cut health risk. Right at the peak of the freezer pyramid, quick freeze-dried tissue samples are preserved, complete with a whole series of potentially life-saving biological indicators. Because the apparatus has been recently calibrated and maintained, the freeze-drying procedure creates a distortion-free bio-sample. From here, a seasoned clinician can clearly see any signs of malignancy in that aforementioned biopsy specimen.
Arguably, this is the most important piece of cooling apparatus ever created. This apparatus is precisely calibrated and clinically accurate. Because of that requirement, specialty calibration labs maintain these devices. They make sure the freezer stage operates with optimized quick-dry efficiency. Just as importantly, they initiate a quality-assurance program so that the temperature inside the machine drops in carefully controlled steps. Inside the equipment chamber, which is surrounded by high-tech digital monitors, distortion-less research specimens and biopsy samples, among other sectioned tissue types, are perfectly preserved and prepped for analysis.