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Published October 2005 | public
Journal Article

Ultrastructural examination of dentin using focused ion-beam cross-sectioning and transmission electron microscopy


Focused ion-beam (FIB) milling is a commonly used technique for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) sample preparation of inorganic materials. In this study, we seek to evaluate the FIB as a TEM preparation tool for human dentin. Two particular problems involving dentin, a structural analog of bone that makes up the bulk of the human tooth, are examined. Firstly, the process of aging is studied through an investigation of the mineralization in 'transparent' dentin, which is formed naturally due to the filling up of dentinal tubules with large mineral crystals. Next, the process of fracture is examined to evaluate incipient events that occur at the collagen fiber level. For both these cases, FIB-milling was able to generate high-quality specimens that could be used for subsequent TEM examination. The changes in the mineralization suggested a simple mechanism of mineral 'dissolution and reprecipitation', while examination of the collagen revealed incipient damage in the form of voids within the collagen fibers. These studies help shed light on the process of aging and fracture of mineralized tissues and are useful steps in developing a framework for understanding such processes.

Additional Information

© 2005 Elsevier Ltd. Available online 6 September 2005. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health under Grant No. 5R01 DE015633 (for RKN and APT), by the Director, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Science, Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering, Department of Energy under No. DE-AC03-76SF00098, and the University of Maine (for AEP). The authors also wish to thank Drs J.R. Jinschek, C.F. Kisielowski, J.J. Kruzic, J.H. Kinney, M. Balooch, D. Fyhrie, P. Hansma, S.J. and G.W. Marshall for many helpful discussions. The authors acknowledge the use of the facilities of the National Center for Electron Microscopy at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, also funded by the Department of Energy.


R.K. Nalla, A.E. Porter, C. Dariao, A.M. Minor, V. Radmilovic, E.A. Stach, A.P. Tomsia, R.O. Ritchie Corrigendum to "Ultrastructural examination of dentin using focused ion-beam cross-sectioning and transmission electron microscopy" [Micron 36 (7–8) (2005) 672–680] Micron, Volume 38, Issue 7, October 2007, Page 771 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.micron.2007.05.004

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October 23, 2023