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Home / Palaeobotanical Tools / Scanning- (SEM) and Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM)

Preparation and Conservation
Managing Fossil Collections
Transfer Technique
Palynological Preparation Techniques
Cellulose Peel Technique
Latex Casts
Photography and Scanning
Imaging Fossils Using UV-Light (Black-Light Photography)
Fluorescence Microscopy and Fluorescence Microspectroscopy
Digital Cameras on the Microscope
Cameras With Focus Bracketing or Built-In Focus Stacking
Focus Stacking (Photography, Extended Depth of Field)
Superresolution (SR)
Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
Microtomography (CT Scanning, XTM) including Synchrotron X-ray Tomographic Microscopy (SRXTM)
High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDR)
Image Processing
Writing, Translating and Drawing

! Chemotaxonomy and Chemometric Palaeobotany@
Glossaries, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias: Microscopy@

Scanning- (SEM) and Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM)

Elizabeth B. Andrews (2009): Windows on a Lilliputian world: a personal perspective on the development of electron microscopy in the twentieth century. Notes Rec. R. Soc.
The link is to a version archived by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
See also here.

! S. Asche et al. (2023): What it takes to solve the Origin (s) of Life: An integrated review of techniques. Free access, arXiv.
! Note figure 1: Comprehensive array of experimental and computational techniques, along with conceptual bridges, which are primarily utilised in OoL studies.
"... We review the common tools and techniques that have been used significantly in OoL [origin(s) of life] studies in recent years.
[...] it spans broadly — from analytical chemistry to mathematical models — and highlights areas of future work ..."

A. Balzano et al. (2022): Scanning electron microscopy protocol for studying anatomy of highly degraded waterlogged archaeological wood. Open access, Forests, 13.
"... The applied SEM protocol allowed characterisation of the anatomy of the highly degraded WAW [waterlogged archaeological wood] while reducing the time required for sample preparation and examination under the microscope ..."

! N. Barling et al. (2023): A unique record of prokaryote cell pyritization. Open access, Geology, 51: 1062–1066,
"... We propose that spheroidal structures scattered across the surface of Crato Formation insect fossils are fossilized prokaryotes, likely coccoid bacterial body fossils
[...] These microorganisms were pyritized, covering decaying carcasses, 1.14 ± 0.01 ìm in size, hollow with smooth surfaces, and can be found as aggregates resembling modern prokaryotes, particularly, coccoid bacterial colonies ..."

C. Blanco-Moreno (2021): Preparation protocols for SEM visualization of charred fossil plants: the case of Weichselia reticulata pinnule anatomy. In PDF, Spanish Journal of Palaeontology, 36.
See also here.

C. Blanco-Moreno et al. (2020): New insights into the affinities, autoecology, and habit of the Mesozoic fern Weichselia reticulata based on the revision of stems from Bernissart (Mons Basin, Belgium). In PDF, 7: 1351-1372.
See also here.
Note figure 1: Representation of all the reconstructions of Weichselia reticulata to date.


! B. Crair (2023): The Fossil Flowers That Rewrote the History of Life. Free access, The New Yorker.
"... Instead of breaking rocks, she crumbled soft sediments into a sieve, washed away the sand grains in water, and saved the tiny specks of charcoal that were left behind.
[...] Fresh discoveries, she added, could radically change the known history of flowers.
[...] “A day in the field can be years of work in the laboratory.” ..."

John W. Cross, Missouri Botanical Garden: Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM).
See also here (without frames).
Still available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

! G.D. Danilatos, ESEM Research Laboratory, Sydney, Australia: ESEM Development and its Future.
"ESEM is a new type of scanning electron microscope, which allows the examination of specimens in the presence of gases. As a result, wet and dry, insulating or conducting and, generally, all specimens can now be viewed with no or minimal preparation, in their natural state, or in vacuum".

R.N. DeKoster et al. (2023): Characterization of a pyritized fossil pollen cone from Clarkia, Idaho. Abstract, Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 318.
"... One specimen was examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive x-ray analysis (EDS). The only pyrite textures observed on this specimen were framboids and framboidal microcrystals.
[...] Underneath the pyrite coating, both the cones and stem were carbon-rich, indicating organic preservation ..."

John Donovan, Micro Analytical Facility, CAMCOR Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in ORegon, University of Oregon, Eugene: Electron Microscopy Societies and On-line Journals, and EPMA & SEM facilities, World Wide.

J.M. Ede (2021): Deep learning in electron microscopy. Open access, Machine Learning: Science and Technology.

A. Fels, Fels Werkstoffanalytik, Stuttgart: Grundlagen der Raster-Elektronenmikroskopie mit Schwerpunkt Sedimentpetrographie. A tutorial (in German). See also: Literatur zur Raster-Elektronenmikroskopie.

! O. Gavrilova et al. (2017): Potential of CLSM in studying some modern and fossil palynological objects. Abstract, Journal of Microscopy, 00: 1–19. See also here and there (in PDF).

! F Grímsson et al. (2021): How to extract and analyze pollen from internal organs and exoskeletons of fossil insects? Open access, STAR protocols, 2.

G. Guignard et al. (2024): TEM and EDS characterization in a Bennettitalean cuticle from the Lower Cretaceous Springhill Formation, Argentina. Free access, Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 320.
Note figure 7: Three-dimensional reconstruction of lower and upper cuticles of Ptilophyllum eminelidarum.
"New cuticle samples from the bennettitalean Ptilophyllum eminelidarum were herein studied using the combination of light microscopy (LM), scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM, TEM), and element analysis by Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) ..."

! B. Liu et al. (2022): SEM petrography of dispersed organic matter in black shales: A review. In PDF, Earth-Science Reviews, 224.
See also here.

Department of Mineralogy, The Natural History Museum, London: Electron microscopy and mineral analysis. Techniques include electron probe microanalysis, inductively coupled plasma spectrometry, laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, transmission electron microscopy, cathodoluminenscence etc.

! L.C.W. MacLean et al. (2008): A high-resolution chemical and structural study of framboidal pyrite formed within a low-temperature bacterial biofilm. In PDF, Geobiology 6: 471-480.
See also here.
"... A novel, anaerobically grown microbial biofilm, scraped from the inner surface of a borehole, 1474 m below land surface within a South African, Witwatersrand gold mine, contains framboidal pyrite
[...] Growth of individual pyrite crystals within the framboid occurred inside organic templates confirms the association between framboidal pyrite and organic materials in low-temperature diagenetic environments ..."

R.L. Mitchell et al. (2023): Terrestrial surface stabilisation by modern analogues of the earliest land plants: A multi-dimensional imaging study. Open access, Geobiology.
Note figure 1: Summary chart highlighting the evolution of different CGC elements [cryptogamic ground covers] from contrasting molecular, phylogenetic and fossil dating methods, and schematic land plant phylogeny of modern terrestrial organisms, focussing on the bryophytes and specific liverwort genera.

! L. Muscariello et al. (2005): A critical overview of ESEM applications in the biological fiel. Free access, Journal of cellular physiology, 205: 328-334.

! Imogen Poole and Geoffrey E. Lloyd (2000): Alternative SEM techniques for observing pyritised fossil material. PDF file, Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 112: 287-295.
Still available via Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

J. Prokop et al. (2016): Hidden surface microstructures on Carboniferous insect Brodioptera sinensis (Megasecoptera) enlighten functional morphology and sensorial perception. Sci. Rep. 6, 28316.
! "... The broader application to the study of scarce insect fossils was accelerated recently with use of ESEM, which makes it possible to study uncoated specimens using this non-invasive technique ...".

! Philip D. Rack, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Tennessee: Materials Laboratory Procedures. Go to:
Optical Microscopy, and Sample Preparation (PDF files).
The nuts and bolds of microscopy, including hints about sample preparation.
These expired links are now available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Virtual Classroom Biology. This website is an educational site, especially meant for secondary school students who like to have a first glance on teaching items of the Bio-science programs. One can find custom-made teaching material for courses from the biology training. Navigate from here. See especially:
Light microscopy techniques.
Electron microscopy (EM).

! I.A. Rahman et al. (2012): Virtual Fossils: a New Resource for Science Communication in Paleontology. In PDF, Evolution: Education and Outreach, 5: 635–641.

Information Technology Department, the UCSD Libraries and Academic Computing Services. University of California, San Diego: Web Course Notes and References, Principles of the Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM).
The link is to a version archived by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

SCANNING. Scanning provides an international and interdisciplinary medium for the rapid exchange of information among all scientists interested in scanning electron, scanning probe, and scanning optical microscopies.

Science Learning Network (SLN): Scanning Electron Microscope. SLN is an online community of educators, students, schools, science museums and other institutions demonstrating a new model for inquiry science education.
The link is to a version archived by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

! E. Stabentheiner et al. (2010): Environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM)—a versatile tool in studying plants. In PDF, Protoplasma, 246: 89–99.
See likewise here.

T.N. Taylor (1968): Application of the scanning electron microscope in paleobotany. In PDF, Transactions of the American Microscopical Society.
Snapshot provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

D. Uhl et al. (2021): Menatanthus mosbruggeri gen. nov. et sp. nov. – A flower with in situ pollen tetrads from the Paleocene maar lake of Menat (Puy-de-Dôme, France). Free access, Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments, 101: 51–58.

Giuseppe Vicidomini et al. (2008): High Data Output and Automated 3D Correlative Light-Electron Microscopy Method. In PDF.

U. Villanueva-Amadoz et al. (2012): Focused ion beam nano-sectioning and imaging: a new method in characterisation of palaeopalynological remains. In PDF, Grana, 51: 1–9. See also here.

J.P. Wilson et al. (2023): Physiological selectivity and plant–environment feedbacks during Middle and Late Pennsylvanian plant community transitions. Open access, Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 535: 361-382.
Note figure 1: Images of Late Carboniferous plant stems permineralized in coal balls.
"... we examine the vascular anatomy and physiology of key lineages of Pennsylvanian plants: the sphenopsids, tree ferns, cordaitaleans, medullosans, lycophytes and extrabasinal stem group coniferophytes. Using scanning electron and light microscopy of fossilized anatomy, we provide new data on these plants’ vascular systems, quantifying their physiological capacity and drought resistance ..."

! WWW-Virtual Library: Microscopy links. Aspects of light microscopy, electron microscopy and other forms of microscopy.

! N. Zavialova and E. Karasev (2016): The use of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) to reconstruct the ultrastructure of sporoderm. In PDF, Palynology, : 89-100.
See also here.
! Note figure 2: Main stages of preparation for a scanning electron microscope (SEM) study of semithin sections.

M. Zhao et al. (2015): Anomozamites (Bennettitales) from Middle Jurassic Haifanggou Formation, western Liaoning, China. In PDF, Global Geology, 18: 75-87.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Category:Electron microscopy.
Scanning electron microscope.
Environmental scanning electron microscope.

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This index is compiled and maintained by Klaus-Peter Kelber, Würzburg,
Last updated June 18, 2023