Towards a correlative approach for characterising single virus particles by transmission electron microscopy and nanoscale Raman spectroscopy
The morphology and structure of biological nanoparticles, such as viruses, can be efficiently analysed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). To chemically characterise such nanoparticles in heterogeneous samples at the single particle level, we suggest tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) as a correlative method. Here we describe a TERS-compatible staining procedure for TEM which involves sample pre-scanning by TEM imaging, nanoparticle relocalisation by atomic force microscopy (AFM) followed by spectroscopic characterization of the virus nanoparticles using TERS. First successful correlative measurements are demonstrated on tobacco mosaic virus particles deposited on silicon-based TEM sample supports. In addition, the advantages and problems of this methodology are discussed.