Electron probe X ray microanalysis of frozen hydrated biological specimens Academic Article uri icon


  • A technique is described for preparing frozen-hydrated bulk samples of biological specimens for electron probe X-ray microanalysis. The method allows reproducible quantitative analyses to be made. Specimens are rapidly frozen, transferred to a vacuum evaporator, fractured under high vacuum at - 180 degrees C and coated with 20 nm of chromium. Transferal to the cryostage of a scanning electron microscope is accomplished without exposure to the atmosphere and without the specimen temperature rising above -120 degrees C. Analyses are made at a temperature of -145 degrees C. Contamination by frost does not occur. Etching and charging of the specimen are eliminated. Specimen charging is shown to be related to temperature. It can be eliminated at low temperature by coating with carbon, aluminium or chromium but consistent elimination could only be achieved with chromium. The chromium coat does not appear to have an absorption effect on quantitative analysis.

publication date

  • December 1, 1977