OHSU to receive revolutionary new imaging technology

07/07/14  Portland, Ore.

Cryo transmission electron microscopy (Cryo-TEM) is a high-resolution imaging technique that has suffered from the physical limitations of radiation damage, low signal-to-noise ratio, and imaging detectors with low quantum efficiency. OHSU is about to receive two new additions to its state-of-the-art Titan Krios cryo transmission electron microscope that are going to push past these current boundaries.

The use of phase plate technology has long been utilized in light microscopy; however, until now it has not been utilized successfully in electron microscopy. FEI has developed a stable, in-column phase plate that will allow a significant increase in the signal-to-noise ratio of Cryo-TEM, without increasing radiation damage to the specimen. This proprietary technology will allow researchers to image small particles and protein complexes (<200 kDa) that were previously out of reach.

Electron detector technology, until recently, has been very limited due to the detector quantum efficiency of available CCD detectors. With the advent of direct electron detectors (Falcon I, FEI) this quantum efficiency was greatly increased. OHSU will be receiving the second generation of this imaging technology, the Falcon II, which will again push the boundaries of imaging capabilities. This new detector will allow users to collect high frame rate images, and increase imaging resolution using multi-frame alignment capabilities. The Falcon II leads the field in detector quantum efficiency at high resolution, and paired with the new phase plate, will push high resolution Cryo-TEM imaging past current limitations.

phase plate