Surface Coating / Alfa Chemistry

Investigation of Surface Structures with Cryo-Electron Microscopy

Investigation of Surface Structures with Cryo-Electron Microscopy


Understanding the micro and nanostructure of biocoatings is critical for product development and market entry. Traditional electron microscopes, on the other hand, are not suited for certain sample types. Water-based samples can be studied using cryo-electron microscopy. Traditional freezing methods can sometimes disrupt intrinsic micro, nano, or biological structures due to the creation of ice crystals, hence alternate ways must be applied. The cryo-electron microscopy service offered by Alfa Chemistry can provide vital insights into the surface and internal micro/nanostructures that help coating product innovation.

Learn About Cryo-Electron Microscopy

Thin samples that are stable in the vacuum of a transmission electron microscope are required for imaging materials with electrons at near-atomic resolution. For biological samples, this includes a thin layer of frozen aqueous solution that contains the biomolecular complex of interest. The process of producing a high-quality specimen is frequently the limiting stage in single-particle electron cryomicroscopy structure identification.

Cryo-EM images of oligolysine and polyethylene glycol (PEG)-oligolysine coated multilayer DNA origami objects (test structures with different coating ratios and buffer conditions).Fig 1. Cryo-EM images of oligolysine and polyethylene glycol (PEG)-oligolysine coated multilayer DNA origami objects (test structures with different coating ratios and buffer conditions). (Bertosin E, et al. 2021)

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is a structural molecular imaging technique that has advanced significantly in recent years. At low temperatures, cryo-EM retains and examines the micro/nanostructure of liquids and their interactions with substrates, such as emulsions, dispersions, gel-based water-based chemical products, and biological materials, in order to extract structural information via image analysis. Technical advancements in image capture and processing software have made it possible to obtain near-atomic resolution three-dimensional reconstructions of macromolecular components, which were previously only conceivable with X-ray crystallography or nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Cryo-electron tomography, on the other hand, has benefited from these technical advancements, allowing for sub-nanometer resolution in in-situ viewing of samples.

Cryo-Electron Microscopy of Alfa Chemistry

Our microscopy experts have vast experience with cryo-electron microscopes and can use them to help our customers improve their product development ambitions. Our team can give experience in the field of the surface coating when combined with professional analytical services at the R&D level.

Our experts were able to maintain the inherent nanostructure of biological coating products without generating ice crystal structures by using a cryo-electron microscope to cryopreserve samples. No matter how complicated the sample is, combining this with the subsequent process of forced sublimation of the sample can expose the microstructure of the Pt/Pd coating and allow direct study of the preserved structure through a cryo-electron microscope. In essence, this procedure turns a liquid sample into a solid, allowing it to undergo the same analysis as a solid sample.

SEM, FESEM, and TEM images of the same polymer nanocomposite.

Our scientists can apply a wide range of imaging and analysis techniques to complicated materials using our cryomicroscopy approach, giving you vital insights that are critical in an era of continual product innovation.


  • Bertosin E, et al. (2021). "Cryo-Electron Microscopy and Mass Analysis of Oligolysine-Coated DNA Nanostructures." ACS Nano. 15(6): 9391–9403.

Our products and services are for research use only and cannot be used for any clinical purpose.

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