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Abstract

Electron microscopy of biological matter uses three different imaging modalities: () electron crystallography, () single-particle analysis, and () electron tomography. Ideally, these imaging modalities are applied to frozen-hydrated samples to ensure an optimal preservation of the structures under scrutiny. Cryo-electron microscopy of biological matter has made important advances in the past decades. It has become a research tool that further expands the scope of structural research into unique areas of cell and molecular biology, and it could augment the materials research portfolio in the study of soft and hybrid materials. This review addresses how researchers using transmission electron microscopy can derive structural information at high spatial resolution from fully hydrated specimens, despite their sensitivity to ionizing radiation, despite the adverse conditions of high vacuum for samples that have to be kept in aqueous environments, and despite their low contrast resulting from weakly scattering building blocks.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-matsci-070511-155004
2012-08-04
2024-06-17
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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