Electron Microscopy Imaging Applications of Room Temperature Ionic Liquids in the Biological Field: A Review
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For biological imaging using electron microscopy (EM), the use of room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) has been proposed as an alternative to traditional lengthy preparation methods. With their low vapor pressures and conductivity, RTILs can be applied onto hard-to-image soft and/or wet samples without dehydration - allowing for a more representative, hydrated state of material and opening the possibility for visualization of in situ physiological processes using conventional EM systems. However, RTILs have yet to be utilized to their full potential by microscopists and microbiologists alike. To this end, this review aims to provide a comprehensive summary of biological applications of RTILs for EM to bridge the RTIL, in situ microscopy, and biological communities. We outline future research avenues for the use of RTILs for the EM observation of biological samples, notably i) RTIL selection and optimization, ii) applications for live cell processes and iii) electron beam and ionic liquid interaction studies.
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