In situ characterization of materials in their operational state is a highly active field of research. Investigating the structure and response of materials under stimuli that simulate real working environments for technological applications can provide new insight and unique input to the synthesis and design of novel materials. Over recent decades, experimental setups that allow different stimuli to be applied to a sample inside an electron microscope have been devised, built, and commercialized. In this review, we focus on the in situ investigation of optically active materials using transmission electron microscopy. We illustrate two different approaches for exposing samples to light inside the microscope column, explaining the importance of different aspects of their mechanical construction and choice of light source and materials. We focus on the technical challenges of the setups and provide details of the construction, providing the reader with input on deciding which setup will be more useful for a specific experiment. The use of these setups is illustrated using examples from the literature of relevance to photocatalysis and nanoparticle synthesis.
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