Low-Temperature Electron Microscopy: Techniques and Protocols

  • Roland A. FleckEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1257)


Low-temperature electron microscopy endeavors to provide “solidification of a biological specimen by cooling with the aim of minimal displacement of its components through the use of low temperature as a physical fixation strategy” (Steinbrecht and Zierold, Cryotechniques in biological electron microscopy. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, p 293, 1987). The intention is to maintain confidence that the tissue observed retains the morphology and dimensions of the living material while also ensuring soluble cellular components are not displaced. As applied to both scanning and transmission electron microscopy, cryo-electron microscopy is a strategy whereby the application of low-temperature techniques are used to reduce or remove processing artifacts which are commonly encountered in more conventional room temperature electron microscopy techniques which rely heavily on chemical fixation and heavy metal staining. Often, cryo-electron microscopy allows direct observation of specimens, which have not been stained or chemically fixed.

Key words

Electron microscopy Cryo-electron microscopy SEM TEM 



Kirsty MacLellan-Gibson who has helped organize and run the NIBSC cryoworkshop, the team at CUI, Leanne Glover, Gema Vizcay, Monika Balys, Fiona Winning, and Pippa Hawes (The Pirbright Institute) for her helpful suggestions and comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ultrastructural ImagingKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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