A specialized technique for TEM specimen preparation to mill a bulk specimen with focused gallium (Ga) ions. The target region of the specimen can be selectively thinned down to a desired shape while monitoring and controlling the process by SEM observation of the milled region. Lamellas can be created for further imaging in the TEM.
Suitable tissues or cells are either high pressure frozen and cryo sectioned prior to milling or if samples are sufficiently thin (bacteria or thin cell monolayers) can be rapid plunge frozen.
Allows the possibility to study unfixed specimens in close-to-native conditions. Lamellas negate issues associated with conventional cryo-sectioning techniques e.g. crevasses and compression artifacts.
The method requires specialised knowledge and training and is time consuming, requiring a multifaceted workflow. Not all samples are suitable.
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