Scanning Electron Microscopy

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Creative Biolabs prides itself on being an innovator and problem solver in the mRNA delivery industry. To get you started and support your mRNA delivery journey, we offer custom solutions with our cutting-edge facility, knowledge, and technology. Here are some examples of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) technology in use.

SEM and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) imaging of solid lipid nanoparticles derived from amphiphilic cyclodextrins

SEM and AFM have been applied to the imagery of solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) formulated from an amphiphilic cyclodextrin, 2,3-di-o-alkanoyl-β-cyclodextrin, β-CD21C6. Both techniques confirm that the SLNs are circular. In the case of the images obtained from AFM, it can be observed that the SLNs tend to be organized as clusters of 15-30 SLNs. This is probably due to the sample preparation method where the colloidal suspension is slowly dried. In contrast, the SLNs imaged by SEM appear to be well separated on the surface.

(A) SEM images of the b-CD21C6 derived SLNs, scale bar: (a) 1 mm, (b) 0.5 mm and (c) 0.2 mm; (B) Non-contact mode AFM images of the b-CD21C6 derived SLNs at scan ranges of: (a) 50 mm, (b) 25 mm and (c) 5 mm. (Dubes, 2003).Fig.1 (A) SEM images of the b-CD21C6 derived SLNs, scale bar: (a) 1 mm, (b) 0.5 mm and (c) 0.2 mm; (B) Non-contact mode AFM images of the b-CD21C6 derived SLNs at scan ranges of: (a) 50 mm, (b) 25 mm and (c) 5 mm. (Dubes, 2003)

The sizes of the SLNs are determined by PCS, SEM, and AFM. While the mean SLN diameter determined by AFM is in agreement with the mean SLN diameter determined by PCS (359±50 nm compared with 359±15 nm), that determined by SEM is considerably smaller (212±12 nm), corresponding to an apparent decrease of 147 nm.

Comparing the results of the two methods, the researchers find that the SLN size measured by SEM is smaller than that obtained for colloidal suspensions, but that single SLNs are often imaged. Whereas for AFM, the observed size is closer to that obtained from PCS, the sample preparation method generally, in this case, leads to clustering of the SLNs. In conclusion, both of these methods of high-resolution microscopy are complementary and lead to access to different information. AFM allows observation of the SLNs in a hydrated state that is closer to that of the SLNs in suspension while SEM leads to the observation of the SLNs in a less aggregated state.

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Reference

  1. Dubes, A.; et al. Scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy imaging of solid lipid nanoparticles derived from amphiphilic cyclodextrins. European journal of pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics. 2003, 55(3): 279-282.
For Research Use Only.