We present a new method to observe living organisms by a common scanning electron microscope (SEM) including a field emission SEM. A simple surface modification to extracellular substances by electron beams or plasmas can equip some multicellular organisms with a thin extra layer, coined the “ NanoSuit(R)”, and hence can keep them alive under the high vacuum (10-3-10-7 Pa) conditions. The “NanoSuit(R)” acts as a flexible ‘Nano-spacesuit’ barrier to the passage of gases and liquids and thus protects the organism. Using this method, it was found that the surface fine structure of living organisms is very different from that of traditionally treated samples, and the active movements of living animals are also observed in an SEM. We next invented the coating method by the “biomimetic NanoSuit” based on artificial substance for the organism which lack the natural extracellular substances. After observation of living organisms by an SEM, despite the high vacuum it is possible to rear many of them subsequently in normal culture conditions. In addition to this method, it is now available to observe human tissues using new surface shield enhancer NanoSuit(R). Those new “ NanoSuit(R)” methods will be useful for numerous applications, particularly in the life sciences.
Takahiko Hariyama, Kana Sakaida, Haruko Matsumoto, Takumi Tsutsui, Hiroshi Suzuki, Hideya Kawasaki, Masatsugu Shimomura, and Yasuharu Takaku, "A thin polymer membrane 'NanoSuit' allows living organisms to survive in the harsh conditions of electron microscopy," Proc. SPIE 10162, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2017, 101620J (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 27, 2017; Published: 17 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2260812.
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