Elucidating the assembled structure of amphiphiles in solution via cryogenic transmission electron microscopy

Honggang Cui, Travis K. Hodgdon, Eric W. Kaler, Ludmila Abezgauz, Dganit Danino, Maya Lubovsky, Yeshayahu Talmon, Darrin J. Pochan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


For the past twenty years, significant progress has been made in both developing cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) technology and understanding assembled behavior of amphiphilic molecules. Cryo-TEM can provide high-resolution images of complex fluids in a near in situ state. Samples embedded in a thin layer of vitrified solvent do not exhibit artifacts that would normally occur when using chemical fixation or staining-and-drying techniques. Cryo-TEM has been useful in imaging biological molecules in aqueous solutions. Cryo-TEM has become a powerful tool in the study of in situ-assembled structures of amphiphiles in solution as a complementary tool to small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering, light scattering, rheology measurements, and nuclear magnetic resonance. The application of cryo-TEM in the study of assembled behavior of amphiphilic block copolymers, hydrogels, and other complex soft systems continues to emerge. In this context, the usage of cryo-TEM in the field of amphiphilic complex fluids and self-assembled nano-materials is briefly reviewed, and its unique role in exploring the nature of assembled structure in liquid suspension is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)945-955
Number of pages11
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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