Cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscopy (Cryo-TEM)

Cryo-TEM is a form of Transmission Electron Microscopy in which the polymer and nano-crystal samples are kept at cryogenic conditions, minimizing radiation damage and preventing water crystallization. It is used in structural biology for studying biomolecules in their hydrated state Infinita Lab, USA enables our clients in the USA and worldwide to do the Cryo-TEM test at our network testing labs.

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    Cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscopy

    Cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscopy (Cryo-TEM) is a technique that uses a focused high energy electron beam transmitted through a thin (~ 50-100 nm) sample under cryogenic conditions, to produce highly magnified images (resolutions of ~4 A0) on a fluorescent screen or digital imaging system. 

    Cryo-TEM was originally developed for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution, but is also being extended to novel applications in material sciences, including soft polymers and nano-crystals. Biomolecules can be observed in their native hydrated states by rapid cooling that arrests any movement during the freezing process. To achieve this, the aqueous sample is plunged into liquid Ethane, to prevent crystallization of water. This retains the water in amorphous form (vitreous water). Temperatures can go down to as low as 4 K and liquid Nitrogen or Liquid helium can also be used for cooling, instead of Ethane. Observing sensitive biomolecules at cryogenic temperatures also prevents radiation damage that can occur due to the high energy electron beam.

    Cryo-TEM is a valuable research tool in various biological fields and is also being increasingly used in other industries dealing with novel materials.

    Common Uses of Cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscopy (Cryo-TEM)

    • Research at molecular level in botany, biotechnology and zoology
    • Research and development of next generation soft polymers
    • Studies of protein structures
    • Studies of cell structure and organelles as well as macromolecules complexes
    • Studies on nano-crystals

    Advantages of Cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscopy (Cryo-TEM)

    • Biomolecules can be studied in their natural hydrated state
    • Minimizes radiation damage to sensitive samples
    • Requires very small samples

    Limitations of Cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscopy (Cryo-TEM)

    • Very low signal to noise ratio leading to lack of contrast, especially when viewing biological macromolecules
    • Sample preparation and mounting procedure takes time

    Industrial Applications of Cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscopy (Cryo-TEM)

    • Research and development tool in biology, medicine and next generation soft Polymer materials

    More Details:

    Single-particle cryo-electron microscopy – PubMed (nih.gov)

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