Direct Observation of Wet Biological Samples by Graphene Liquid Cell Transmission Electron Microscopy.
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Nano letters, ISSN: 1530-6992, Vol: 15, Issue: 7, Page: 4737-44
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- Chemical Engineering; Chemistry; Materials Science; Physics and Astronomy; Engineering; bioimaging; epithelial cells; graphene liquid cell; influenza viruses; Liquid phase TEM; multilayer graphene
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Recent development of liquid phase transmission electron microscopy (TEM) enables the study of specimens in wet ambient conditions within a liquid cell; however, direct structural observation of biological samples in their native solution using TEM is challenging since low-mass biomaterials embedded in a thick liquid layer of the host cell demonstrate low contrast. Furthermore, the integrity of delicate wet samples is easily compromised during typical sample preparation and TEM imaging. To overcome these limitations, we introduce a graphene liquid cell (GLC) using multilayer graphene sheets to reliably encapsulate and preserve biological samples in a liquid for TEM observation. We achieve nanometer scale spatial resolution with high contrast using low-dose TEM at room temperature, and we use the GLC to directly observe the structure of influenza viruses in their native buffer solution at room temperature. The GLC is further extended to investigate whole cells in wet conditions using TEM. We also demonstrate the potential of the GLC for correlative studies by TEM and fluorescence light microscopy imaging.