Latest Invited Reviews

Expansion microscopy
I. Cho, J.Y. Seo and J. Chang 

Super‐resolution optical microscopy techniques have revolutionized how we see and understand biology. In recent past, a new super‐resolution optical microscopy technique called expansion microscopy (ExM) was developed. Unlike other pre‐existing super‐resolution imaging techniques, this technique achieves super‐resolution by physically expanding biological specimens via a swellable hydrogel. After the development of ExM, various techniques based on ExM but with improved performance in various aspects, have been developed. In this review, we introduce the basic principles of ExM and its variants. and compare the advantages and disadvantages of these techniques. In addition, we present the applications of ExM techniques in various fields.

Reporting methods for processing and analysis of data from serial block face scanning electron microscopy
S. Borrett, L. Hughes

A three-dimensional (3D) microscopy technique, serial block face scanning electron microscopy (SBFSEM), is becoming increasingly popular in biological research. The technique results in large volumes of data being produced, which can cause issues such as for data analysis. This review explores the different methods being used in published work and makes suggestions about how these methods can be reported to enable replication of the research conducted.

Microscopy of nanoparticulate dispersion
R Brydson, A Brown, C Hodges, P Abellan and N Hondow

We present a critical review of the common methods for determining the dispersion state of nanoparticulate samples particularly in liquid media, including the determination of particle size and morphology; particle size distributions and polydispersity and equilibrium particle structure and chemistry. We highlight the potential contributions of both scanning probe and electron microscopies in this analysis which is of benefit in understanding nanoparticulate formulations and their behaviour applied across a very wide range of technologies and industry sectors.

A reveiw of cellphone microscopy for disease detection
R Dendere, N Myburg and T S Douglas

The expansion in global cellphone network coverage coupled with advances in cellphone imaging capabilities present an opportunity for the advancement of cellphone microscopy as a low-cost alternative to conventional microscopy for disease detection in resource-limited regions. The development of cellphone microscopy has also benefitted from the availability of low-cost miniature microscope components such as low-power light-emitting diodes and ball lenses. As a result, researchers are developing hardware and software techniques that would enable such microscopes to produce high-resolution, diagnostic-quality images. This approach may lead to more widespread delivery of diagnostic services in resource-limited areas where there is a shortage of the skilled labour required for conventional microscopy and where prevalence of infectious and other diseases is still high. In this paper, we review current techniques, clinical applications and challenges faced in the field of cellphone microscopy.

Aberration-corrected STEM for atomic-resolution imaging and analysis
O Krivanek, T C Lovejoy and N Dellby

Aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopes are able to form electron beams smaller than 100 pm, which is about half the size of an average atom. Probing materials with such beams leads to atomic-resolution images, electron energy loss and energy-dispersive X-ray spectra obtained from single atomic columns and even single atoms, and atomic-resolution elemental maps. We review briefly how such electron beams came about, and show examples of applications. We also summarize recent developments that are propelling aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopes in new directions, such as complete control of geometric aberration up to fifth order, and ultra-high-energy resolution EELS that is allowing vibrational spectroscopy to be carried out in the electron microscope.

Reconstruction of random heterogeneous media
F Ballani and D Stoyan

Stochastic reconstruction is a technique to generate samples of random structures with prescribed distributional properties in the sense that certain of their statistical summary characteristics match target values or forms. This technique can be used to produce structures of any wanted size for further statistical analysis starting from small samples, which may be even only lower dimensional, for instance, when three-dimensional imaging techniques are not available. In this review we explain the main ideas of stochastic reconstruction, concentrating on the most important case of digitized binary media and with a particular emphasis on stereological reconstruction.

Electron microscopy of quantum dots
T Walther

This brief review describes the different types of semiconductor quantum dot systems, their main applications and which types of microscopy methods are used to characterise them. Emphasis is put on the need for a comprehensive investigation of their size distribution, microstructure, chemical composition, strain state and electronic properties, all of which influence the optical properties and can be measured by different types of imaging, diffraction and spectroscopy methods in an electron microscope.

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