Microscopes for Ultrastructural Examinations

Ultrastructural Investigations

From Microns to Angstroms

With resolutions of microns down to angstroms, electron microscopy is being used to explore the architecture of neurons in our brains and eyes or even individual viruses in our cells. From tissues to proteins, electron microscopy is driving research in many areas of bioscience. Studies in tissue biology examine interactions between cells and their surroundings and aim to understand the living system at the level of the entire organ or whole animal. In order to visualize three-dimensional objects, the sample must be serially sectioned, typically through use of an ultramicrotome or focused ion beam, imaged and reconstructed into a three-dimensional data set.

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Slicing and 3D Imaging in the Nanometer Range

Serial block-face imaging (SBF-SEM) with an integrated ultramicrotome is realized in the Carl Zeiss scanning electron microscopes MERLIN 3View and SIGMA 3View, utilizing fast and convenient SBF-SEM technology by Gatan. While the ultramicrotome approach is a faster method, the focused ion beam is capable of much finer slice thickness. The Carl Zeiss CrossBeam FIB-SEM workstation mills away the surface of your specimen and three-dimensional data set is reconstructed with ATLAS 3D software. With slicing sizes down to nanometers-thickness, your ultrastructural investigations typically generate large amounts of data so you rely on a streamlined process for data acquisition. As slicing and imaging of biological samples becomes more automated, your true challenge is to analyze these vast amounts of information contained in your images.

Cryo-Fracturing the Cell

As the building block of all living organisms, it is critical to understand the organization, processes and internal activities of cells. You examine cell membranes and cellular morphology with electron microscopy under fully hydrated conditions. With cryo-fracture techniques you fix cells and examine the organization of interior ultrastructural cellular structures, such as the localization and function of nuclear proteins, cytoskeletal structure and related proteins, ribosome and mitochondrial functions.

From Structure to Function with Correlative Microscopy

You need to understand the relationship between structure and function in your life science research. Correlative examinations, which combine light and scanning electron microscope images of one and the same region within your specimens, help you to address this challenge. You effectively combine the imaging and analytical methods of both light and electron microscopy and link functional and dynamic information about your specimens with ultra-structural details. With Shuttle & Find by Carl Zeiss you experience an easy-to-use, highly productive workflow from a light to an electron microscope – and in combination with widefield microscopes even vice versa.

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