, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 173-186

Scintillation autoradiography at the light microscopic level: A review

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Summary

This article reviews the reported attempts to expose autoradiographs, intended for examination by light microscopy, in the presence of scintillation fluid in order to increase efficiency and thus shorten exposure times. The scintillation process is reviewed, together with the use of comparable techniques in the autoradiography of chromatograms and electrophoresis gels. The conflicting reports on the usefulness of scintillation autoradiography in light microscopy are then discussed, and explanations sought for the wide diversity of claims made for the technique. Many of the more optimistic claims can be explained on the basis that the ‘normal’ autoradiographs used for comparison had unduly low efficiencies caused by inadequate drying of the emulsion and consequent latent image fading. The techniques used are unlikely to have produced any increase in efficiency through the scintillation process. Optimal conditions for obtaining such increases are derived from theoretical considerations.