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Laser phase plate for transmission electron microscopy.


Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of rapidly frozen biological specimens, or cryo-EM, would benefit from the development of a phase plate for in-focus phase contrast imaging. Several types of phase plates have been investigated, but rapid electrostatic charging of all such devices has hindered these efforts. Here, we demonstrate electron phase manipulation with a high-intensity continuous-wave laser beam, and use it as a phase plate for TEM. We demonstrate the laser phase plate by imaging an amorphous carbon film. The laser phase plate provides a stable and tunable phase shift without electrostatic charging or unwanted electron scattering. These results suggest the possibility for dose-efficient imaging of unstained biological macromolecules and cells.

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