Light microscopy with electrons

Light microscopy with electrons

Jacob Hoogenboom, Imaging Physics – Delft University of Technology


Since the early work of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, developments in light microscopy (LM) have been instrumental for progress in many areas of science. In recent years, both light and electron microscopy (EM) have seen revolutionary developments with typical spatial scales almost overlapping. Correlation microscopy has emerged to embed molecular positions from LM in a structural landscape obtained with EM[1]. Integrated microscopes, pioneered in Utrecht, have led to easier procedures for obtaining correlated images[2]. Here, I will show that besides very precise correlation, the integrated approach can also lead to new imaging techniques crossing the traditional boundaries between both types of microscopy. In our system, an electron beam can be positioned anywhere within the field of view of a fluorescence microscope[3]. In this way, we can do light microscopy using electrons, and electron microscopy guided by light.


 I will provide application examples ranging from biology to nanophotonics: electron-beam induced fluorescence superresolution, ‘snapshot’-electron microscopy of live cells[4], multi-color electron microscopy, and electron-excitation lifetime microscopy inside metal-coated nanolasers.


[1]   P. de Boer, J.P. Hoogenboom, and B.N.G. Giepmans, Nature Methods 12(6), 503–513 (2015).

[2]   A.V. Agronskaia et al., Journal of Structural Biology 164, 183-189 (2008)

[3]   A.C. Zonnevylle et al., Journal of Microscopy 252, 58-70 (2013).

[4]   N. Liv et al, ACS Nano 10, 265-273 (2016)