Researchers at TU Delft have expanded upon a clever trick, thereby increasing the speed of electron microscope imaging by a factor of twenty. A simple adjustment is all that is needed: applying a voltage to the specimen holder. Through this simple intervention, a specimen that would normally take an electron microscope a week to image can now be inspected in a single night or one working day.
Electron microscopes are unparalleled when it comes to imaging at the very smallest scale. Unlike an optical microscope that captures light particles, the scanning electron microscope (SEM) shoots an electron beam at the specimen—for example, a thin slice of tissue. The electrons in the beam scatter in the tissue, whereupon the scattered electrons are captured by a sensor. Then a computer creates an image based on how many electrons are scattered at each position the beam scans.
Source: “Clever Delft trick enables 20 times faster imaging with electron microscopy”, Dr. ir. Jacob Hoogenboom, TU Delft Research News