cryo-TEM at MSU Lets Scientists Explore Molecules

Montana State University has developed a new microscope that brings research to a whole new, teeny, tiny level. They have just recently powered up their second ultra-high resolution cryogenic transmission electron microscope (cryo-TEM). 

The cryo-TEM can create high-resolution and 3D images at a cellular level with greater clarity than any other tool available. In fact, it can successfully capture images down to a tenth of a nanometer with high-resolution images. 

In order to achieve this high resolution they had to design the lenses to be suspended on air cushions to avoid even tiny vibrations. Even a change in temperature would lead to slight contractions or expansions and cause distortions. 

Along with the microscope, the Cryo-EM lab now has an entire room dedicated to the computers that take the images captured by the TEM — as many as 100,000, up to 50 per second — and stitch them into a 3-D model of something normally invisible to the naked eye.

“It will hugely benefit this campus and I’m glad we’ll be able to make it available to other people,” said Martin Lawrence, a professor in Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in MSU’s College of Letters and Science and the facility director of MSU’s Cryo-Electron Microscopy Laboratory, also called the Cryo-EM Lab.

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