A plethora of techniques for the imaging of liposomes and other bilayer vesicles are available. However, sample preparation and the technique chosen should be carefully considered in conjunction with the information required. For example, larger vesicles such as multilamellar and giant unilamellar vesicles can be viewed using light microscopy and whilst vesicle confirmation and size prior to additional physical characterisations or more detailed microscopy can be undertaken, the technique is limited in terms of resolution. To consider the options available for visualising liposome-based systems, a wide range of microscopy techniques are described and discussed here: these include light, fluorescence and confocal microscopy and various electron microscopy techniques such as transmission, cryo, freeze fracture and environmental scanning electron microscopy. Their application, advantages and disadvantages are reviewed with regard to their use in analysis of lipid vesicles.
- scanning microscopy