Advantages and Disadvantages of Electron Microscopy

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Since the invention of the first prototype in the early 20th Century the electron microscope has allowed us to peer into the micromolecular world more deeply than ever.

Image of blood clot using a scanning electron microscope.

By firing a concentrated “beam” of electrons at a sample (either a thin cross-section in the case of transmission electron microscopy or a three dimensional sample in the case of scanning electron microscopy) in a vacuum, biological and chemical structures can be revealed in ever more clarity, and a number of variations on the main techniques have been developed in recent decades.

Eye of a fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, scanning electron microscopy Image Credit: Heiti Paves / Shutterstock

As with any scientific technique or technology, it is not without its disadvantages, but it does have several advantages for the researcher using it. Some of these are listed below.

Image of human neutrophils using a transmission electron microscope.

Advantages of electron microscopy

Electron microscopy has several main advantages. These include:

Disadvantages of electron microscopy

However, there are several disadvantages which may mean that other techniques, especially light microscopy and super-resolution microscopy, are more advantageous to the researcher. These include:

Electron microscopy: A highly useful analytical technique

These advantages and disadvantages must be carefully considered by researchers and project managers. However, electron microscopy is a highly useful analytical technique which remains at the forefront of scientific research and with the right training and use can produce results which no other technology available can.

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Written by

Reginald Davey

Reg Davey is a freelance copywriter and editor based in Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Writing for News Medical represents the coming together of various interests and fields he has been interested and involved in over the years, including Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences, and Environmental Science.

Last updated Oct 22, 2019

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