Femto-pipetting for quick cryo-Transmission Electron Microscopy sample preparation

Themes: Life Science & Health

Early prototype

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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Current freeze-slice-and-search method for sub-cellular component sample preparation is time consuming. It even has the risk of damaging and thus altering the sample.


A microfluidic cantilever that can pipette femto-litre volumes is developed. It injects fluorophores inside a cell and aspirates the desired labelled component. The in-situ force sensor detects cell penetration.


In two years, an early prototype of the setup will be ready. It will redefine the sample preparation technique for cryo-TEM making it fast and efficient, saving a lot of costs.

Dr. Murali Ghatkesar


Ir. Eleonoor Verlinden

Ir. Jochem Pronk

Prof. Urs Staufer

Prof. Andreas Engel