, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 345-358

Development of phase plates for electron microscopes and their biological application

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Abstract

After slow progress in the efforts to develop phase plates for electron microscopes, functional phase plates with thin carbon films have recently been reported. An electron microscope enhanced with thin-film phase plates has practical advantages. It permits collecting high-contrast images of intact biological specimens without harsh and lengthy sample preparation, such as fixation, dehydration, resin-embedding, staining and thin-sectioning. This report reviews the state of the art for phase plates in biological electron microscopy and focuses upon the conditions required for functional thin-film phase plates. The current disadvantages of thin-film phase plates are also addressed and potential solutions are proposed.