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Nat Commun. 2015 Jun 11;6:7384. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8384.

Graphene-enabled electron microscopy and correlated super-resolution microscopy of wet cells.

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Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
1] Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA [2] Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


The application of electron microscopy to hydrated biological samples has been limited by high-vacuum operating conditions. Traditional methods utilize harsh and laborious sample dehydration procedures, often leading to structural artefacts and creating difficulties for correlating results with high-resolution fluorescence microscopy. Here, we utilize graphene, a single-atom-thick carbon meshwork, as the thinnest possible impermeable and conductive membrane to protect animal cells from vacuum, thus enabling high-resolution electron microscopy of wet and untreated whole cells with exceptional ease. Our approach further allows for facile correlative super-resolution and electron microscopy of wet cells directly on the culturing substrate. In particular, individual cytoskeletal actin filaments are resolved in hydrated samples through electron microscopy and well correlated with super-resolution results.

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