A technique used in electron microscopy to examine the surfaces of specimens that are too electron dense, too delicate, or too robust for sectioning. The specimen surface is coated with a thin film of material, such as carbon, in order to make a cast or replica. This is removed by soaking the specimen in 10% sodium hydroxide solution. It may be subjected to *shadowing
procedures before examination. The development of the scanning electron microscope has tended to make replica plating redundant, although it is still used in freeze fracturing.