, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 17–34 | Cite as

Transmission electron microscopy of cellulose. Part 2: technical and practical aspects

  • Yu Ogawa
  • Jean-Luc PutauxEmail author
Original Paper


Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has played a significant role in the characterization of cellulosic materials, especially the so-called “nanocelluloses” (nanofibers and nanocrystals), from visualizing nanoscale morphologies to identifying crystal structures. With scientific and industrial interest in nanocelluloses rapidly increasing, this technique is more important than ever for scientists, engineers and students. Mastering TEM techniques for cellulosic materials is not trivial for a number of reasons, the main one being the high sensitivity of cellulose crystals to electron beam damage. In this contribution, practical aspects of sample preparation, contrast enhancing protocols as well as specific imaging and diffraction techniques are described to facilitate the morphological and structural characterization of cellulose by TEM in imaging and electron diffraction modes. We especially emphasize the importance of controlling the radiation dose to record well-resolved images of cellulose crystals with meaningful structural detail.

Graphical abstract


Cellulose Nanocellulose Transmission electron microscopy Electron diffraction 



Most TEM images and diffraction diagrams displayed in this article have specifically been recorded for this paper using a FEI-Philips CM200 ‘Cryo’ microscope operating at 80 or 200 kV. Most images have been recorded with a TVIPS TemCam F216 digital 2 K camera. The authors would like to thank the NanoBio-ICMG Platform (FR 2607) for granting access to the Electron Microscopy facility, Christine Lancelon-Pin for her technical help, as well as our colleagues who have prepared the nanocellulose specimens that have been observed. We are extremely grateful to Henri Chanzy for sharing with us his vast knowledge of transmission electron microscopy of polysaccharides and for critically reading, and thus improving, this manuscript.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, CERMAVGrenobleFrance

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