Biological Specimens and Tomography in the Xenon Plasma Focussed Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy

Electron – Scientific Presentation 14:15 – 15:25 (Sydney Time) | Wednesday 17 Feb 2020


Three dimensional tomography of biological structures has always been challenging but essential in understanding morphology, biology, and the associated interactions occurring in various tissues, cells, and systems. Recently, there has been an influx of research including Focussed Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM) datasets, mostly generated with the Gallium (Ga) FIB-SEM. The introduction of the Xenon (Xe) Plasma FIB-SEM allows for the investigation of larger areas (> 20 ┬Ám3) of different materials as Xe sputters more material than Ga at a faster rate. Xe is more chemically inert and less conductive than Ga resulting in the introduction of fewer artefacts. Additional positives associated with tomography in the Xe FIB-SEM include more stability during data collection compared to other volume SEM techniques. Although, using a Xe FIB-SEM comes with challenges such as thicker sections (>50 nm) resulting in uneven voxel sizes and the formation of pillars on milled surfaces due to the larger beam size. Here we look at biological specimens investigated using the Ga and Xe FIB-SEM to investigate these differences. While data collection is different, the methods used for sample preparation and data reconstruction can be the same across these different volume SEM techniques.


Crystal Cooper

Crystal Cooper

Queensland University of Technology

Bio available soon