"Freeze Etching" is a descriptor in the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus,
MeSH (Medical Subject Headings). Descriptors are arranged in a hierarchical structure,
which enables searching at various levels of specificity.
A replica technique in which cells are frozen to a very low temperature and cracked with a knife blade to expose the interior surfaces of the cells or cell membranes. The cracked cell surfaces are then freeze-dried to expose their constituents. The surfaces are now ready for shadowing to be viewed using an electron microscope. This method differs from freeze-fracturing in that no cryoprotectant is used and, thus, allows for the sublimation of water during the freeze-drying process to etch the surfaces.
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