Microscopy Today

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 1551-9295 / 2150-3583
Published by: Cambridge University Press (CUP) (10.1017)
Total articles ≅ 3,546
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Latest articles in this journal

Han Wu,
Microscopy Today, Volume 29, pp 30-36; https://doi.org/10.1017/s1551929521001358

X-ray diffraction (XRD) is a fingerprint technique for the analysis of atomic and molecular structures of crystalline materials, from polymers and plastics, through to structural composites and biomaterials. These all have crystallographic phases in the nanostructure, which greatly influence the macro properties of the material—from insulin and hemoglobin to semiconductors and solar cells. Here, we look at how XRD analysis using a small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS) system under full vacuum brings the possibility of crystallographic sample characterization, with temperature and environmental control, direct to the laboratory, and how this improves the workflow for phase identification.
Sandy M.S. McLachlan, Elaine C. Humphrey
Microscopy Today, Volume 29, pp 38-41; https://doi.org/10.1017/s1551929521001334

We describe an experimental approach for achieving an optimal black background for scanning electron photomicrographs of small samples with elaborate and intricate structures. Specimens of the highly ornate, 66-million-year-old chorate dinoflagellate cyst species Cannosphaeropsis franciscana were selected as the subject of this study. Photomicrographs collected following standard aluminum stub surface placement were compared to those taken of specimens mounted using a novel pin-and-pedestal method. This simplistic mounting technique minimizes the need for post-production image editing and extraneous background removal.
, Anna Bieber, Cristina Capitanio, Oda Schioetz, Thomas van der Heijden, Andries Effting, Éric Piel, Bassim Lazem, Philipp Erdmann, Juergen Plitzko
Microscopy Today, Volume 29, pp 20-25; https://doi.org/10.1017/s1551929521001280

Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the building blocks of life since it provides the unique opportunity to study molecules and membrane architectures in the context of cellular interaction. In particular, the combination of fluorescence imaging with focused ion beam (FIB) milling allows the targeting of specific structures in thick cellular samples by preparing thin lamellae that contain a specific fluorescence marker. This technique has conventionally been time-consuming, as it requires sample transfer to multiple microscopes and presents several technical challenges that currently limit its success. Here we describe METEOR, a FIB-integrated microscopy solution that streamlines the correlative cryo-ET workflow. It protects the sample from ice contamination by minimizing handling steps, thus increasing the likelihood of high-quality data. It also allows for monitoring of the milling procedure to ensure the molecule of interest is captured and can then be imaged by cryo-ET.
, Jiang He
Microscopy Today, Volume 29, pp 16-19; https://doi.org/10.1017/s1551929521001346

The structure and organization of cells within organs is essential to their function, but nowhere in the body is this more spectacular than the brain. There, sprawling, snowflake-like neurons have grown into a precise arrangement, reaching out to neighboring cells to form neural circuits. Communication within neural circuits, made possible by spatial positioning, forms the basis of our physiology. Recently, a high-resolution cell atlas generated by MERFISH (multiplex error-robust fluorescence in situ hybridization) technology has mapped this spectacular organ with unmatched resolution, depth, and scale. The atlas catalogs cells as they exist in the intact biological system and will allow us to learn more about rare cell types and sparsely expressed cell signaling receptors fundamental to health and disease.
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