Preparation of Biological Samples for Scanning Electron Microscopy
In this and the next chapter we will consider the practical aspects of specimen preparation for both the scanning electron microscope and the x-ray microanalyzer. Although the two types of instrument are very similar and in many respects can be used interchangeably, it is useful, from the biologist’s point of view, to consider the preparative techniques separately. The scanning electron microscope gives morphological information, whereas the x-ray microanalyzer gives analytical information about the specimen. It is important for the user to appreciate fully these differences as they have a significant bearing on the rationale behind the specimen preparation techniques. The methods and techniques which are given in these two chapters will provide the optimal specimen preparation conditions for scanning microscopy or x-ray microanalysis. It must be realized that anything less than the optimal conditions will result in a diminished information transfer from the specimen. It will also become apparent that it will be frequently necessary to make some sort of compromise between the two approaches, which must result in less information from the specimen.
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