Electron Energy-Loss Spectroscopy as a Tool for Elemental Analysis in Biological Specimens

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A transmission electron microscope (TEM) accessory, the energy filter, enables the establishment of a method for elemental microanalysis, the electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS). In conventional TEM, unscattered, elastic, and inelastic scattered electrons contribute to image information. Energy-filtering TEM (EFTEM) allows elemental analysis at the ultrastructural level by using selected inelastic scattered electrons. EELS is an excellent method for elemental microanalysis and nanoanalysis with good sensitivity and accuracy. However, it is a complex method whose potential is seldom completely exploited, especially for biological specimens. In addition to spectral analysis, parallel-EELS, we present two different imaging techniques in this chapter, namely electron spectroscopic imaging (ESI) and image-EELS. We aim to introduce these techniques in this chapter with the elemental microanalysis of titanium. Ultrafine, 22-nm titanium dioxide particles are used in an inhalation study in rats to investigate the distribution of nanoparticles in lung tissue.