3D Electron Microscopy for Life Sciences

Special Issue of the Journal of Microscopy celebrates the future of cell imaging


For the past 50 or so years, the ability to obtain extensive three-dimensional information from cells has been the preserve of those brave electron microscopists willing to undertake extensive serial thin sectioning followed by manual or semiautomated reconstruction. More recently, the technique of transmission electron tomography has enabled the high-resolution study of subcellular structure at extremely high resolution in 3-D. However, to obtain reconstructions to any great depth using this technique is time-intensive, involves collecting serial tomograms, is extremely skilful and reconstructions can take many weeks to complete.

The development of high-resolution field emission scanning electron microscopes (FE-SEM) has enabled biologists to explore the use of the SEM to study cell ultrastructure in resin-embedded material using traditional TEM preparative techniques. Combined with ion beam milling (FIB-SEM) techniques or the ability to undertake ultramicrotomy within the SEM specimen chamber, known as serial block face imaging (SBFSEM, SB-EM), it is now possible to collect data sets of many microns in the z-axis and reconstruct organelle organization in whole cells or tissues.

Special Issue of the Journal of Microscopy
Special Issue of the Journal of Microscopy

The August 2015 Issue of the Journal of Microscopy, edited jointly by Chris Hawes (Oxford Brookes University) and  Eric Hummel (ZEISS Microscopy) contains a series of papers exploring the developments and applications of the use of scanning electron microscopy to study cell ultrastructure. This includes papers on correlative fluorescence and SEM imaging, SBFSEM and FIB-SEM, through to array tomography of sections imaged by SEM and high-throughput imaging using a multi-beam SEM.

ZEISS together with the RMS and the Journal of Microscopy jointly present the open access articles from the August 2015 issue. Enjoy reading, and don’t forget to check out our associated webinar embedded below that details the many possibilities and advantages of ZEISS solutions for 3D EM imaging in life sciences.



All articles from the August 2015 issue are available as open access at the Wiley Online Library by clicking here!


Interested in more details or instrument demonstrations? Use our contact form or drop us an email! microscopy@zeiss.com


ZEISS webinar: 3D electron microscopy for life sciences. Focused ion beam (FIB-SEM) and serial block-face scanning electron microscopy (SBEM) are arising techniques for three dimensional visualization of biological structures. The combination of ion beam milling and scanning electron microscopy imaging provides 3D datasets of whole cells with nanoscale resolution. The development of 3D correlative workflows combines both methods in a perfect way and enables scientists to correlate functional and ultrastructural information in a multidimensional context.



Cut your samples with an integrated ultramicrotome, slice them with a FIB gun, or image nondestructively with X-ray. Get a maximum of information from your samples in 3D and correlate with light microscopy. Experience the largest portfolio of 3D imaging for light, electron and X-ray microscopy: www.zeiss.com/microscopy


Direct access of the August 2015 Issue at the Wiley Online Library

Tags: Electron and Ion Microscopy


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