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. ... Read More

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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

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      FAQs on Cryogenic Transmission Electron Microscopy (Cryo-TEM)

      What is the difference between TEM and cryo TEM?

      The main difference between cryo-EM and TEM is that in cryo-EM the specimen is prepared by using a flash or jet freezing of liquid or suspension. This enables the specimen to be viewed under the microscope without the need for fixating or straining aids. In TEM, the specimen is fixed in place by chemical fixation or staining agents.

      How does cryogenic electron microscopy work?

      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.

      What is cryo-TEM used for?

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

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

      Why is cryo-EM better than EM?

      Conventional EM techniques require the specimen to undergo chemical fixation, staining, and dehydration. This is not the case in cryo-EM, where the specimen is preserved in its natural hydrated state.

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