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50 years of scanning electron microscopy of bone-a comprehensive overview of the important discoveries made and insights gained into bone material properties in health, disease, and taphonomy

Journal article
Authors Furqan A. Shah
Krisztina Ruscsák
Anders Palmquist
Published in Bone Research
Volume 7
ISSN 2095-4700
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Biomaterials
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41413-019-0053-...
Keywords mineral density distribution, amorphous calcium-phosphate, human, trabecular bone, cortical bone, osteogenesis imperfecta, resorption, lacunae, cancellous bone, lamellar bone, mechanical-properties, implant, interface, Cell Biology
Subject categories Cell biology, Biomaterials Science

Abstract

Bone is an architecturally complex system that constantly undergoes structural and functional optimisation through renewal and repair. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) is among the most frequently used instruments for examining bone. It offers the key advantage of very high spatial resolution coupled with a large depth of field and wide field of view. Interactions between incident electrons and atoms on the sample surface generate backscattered electrons, secondary electrons, and various other signals including X-rays that relay compositional and topographical information. Through selective removal or preservation of specific tissue components (organic, inorganic, cellular, vascular), their individual contribution(s) to the overall functional competence can be elucidated. With few restrictions on sample geometry and a variety of applicable sample-processing routes, a given sample may be conveniently adapted for multiple analytical methods. While a conventional SEM operates at high vacuum conditions that demand dean, dry, and electrically conductive samples, non-conductive materials (e.g., bone) can be imaged without significant modification from the natural state using an environmental scanning electron microscope. This review highlights important insights gained into bone microstructure and pathophysiology, bone response to implanted biomaterials, elemental analysis, SEM in paleoarchaeology, 3D imaging using focused ion beam techniques, correlative microscopy and in situ experiments. The capacity to image seamlessly across multiple length scales within the meso-micro-nano-continuum, the SEM lends itself to many unique and diverse applications, which attest to the versatility and user-friendly nature of this instrument for studying bone. Significant technological developments are anticipated for analysing bone using the SEM. E K, 1992, JOURNAL OF ELECTRON MICROSCOPY, V41, P113

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