Why chose cryo-EM?

Life scientists interested in understanding proteins and protein complexes face numerous challenges. Proteins are biologically complex, and many are notoriously tough to examine using traditional methods like crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).

With cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), researchers can observe proteins in all their complex conformations, structures, and modified forms and can look at multiple protein conformations in a single sample. Cryo-EM eliminates the need for crystals, resolves concerns around purity and heterogeneity, and the 3D protein structures produced allow scientists to investigate protein function inside the cell, which is critical to understanding how they work, their role in disease, and how they’ll respond to therapies. Cryo-EM has become the go-to method for scientists around the world, generating breakthroughs in research for infectious disease, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer among others.
 

What is a cryo-electron microscope?

A cryo-electron microscope is generally a transmission electron microscope (TEM) specifically designed to maintain cryogenic temperatures within the sample chamber. Compared to traditional TEMs, cryo-electron microscopes also feature a suite of automation and sample-handling technology, increasing ease of use and ensuring that the maximum amount of high-quality data can be collected for each sample. Cryo-EM samples can maintain cryogenic conditions for as long as 72 hours within the Krios Cryo-TEM and up to 24 hours within the Glacios or Tundra Cryo-TEM, allowing researchers to collect all the data they need to produce as high-quality a reconstruction as possible.
 

How does cryo-EM work?

Cryo-EM cools samples to cryogenic temperatures so quickly that it prevents water molecules from crystalizing, preserving the native sample structure. Once frozen, a range of EM techniques can be used to visualize the specimen in 3D at a variety of resolutions—including near-atomic resolution—allowing scientists to gain deeper, more comprehensive insights than previously possible.
 

Learn more about cryo-EM

Check out our Learning Center where you can find valuable information and resources that will help you accelerate your next discovery, including:

  • Our interactive Q&A series, Ask the Experts
  • Getting to Know You podcasts that focus on members of the scientific community
  • Customer and expert interviews highlighting how our products impact their research  

Visit the Learning Center

Curious about getting started with cryo-EM? Our ebook walks new users through the single-particle analysis workflow, offers practical paths to access, and highlights several interesting case studies, including the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein.

Download the ebook

We’ve made it easy to stay current on the latest in cryo-EM research. Our publication library makes it easy to sort and refine by date, research area, technique, and more.

Explore the publications library


See the big picture

Basic life processes start in the cell. To understand how they function and respond to disease or genetic variations, life scientists engage in cellular and structural biology research. Cellular biology explores individual cells and the ways in which they are organized into organs and tissues. Structural biologists delve deep into sub-cellular components, organelles and macromolecular structures. Electron microscopy (EM) is capable of providing insight at all these scales and more, revealing even atomic-level structural details for a range of biomolecules.

Electron Microscopy

Cryo-Electron Microscopy

Cryo-EM provides high-resolution structural analysis for cutting-edge pharmaceutical and life science research.



Applications

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Structural Biology Research

Cryo-electron microscopy enables the structural analysis of challenging biological targets such as large complexes, flexible species and membrane protein.

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Infectious Disease Research

Cryo-EM techniques enable multiscale observations of 3D biological structures in their near-native states, informing faster, more efficient development of therapeutics.

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Drug Discovery

Learn how to take advantage of rational drug design for many more major drug target classes, leading to best-in-class drugs.

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Plant Biology Research

Fundamental plant biology research is enabled by cryo electron microscopy, which provides information on proteins (with single particle analysis), to their cellular context (with tomography), all the way up to the overall structure of the plant (large volume analysis).

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Pathology Research

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is used when the nature of the disease cannot be established via alternative methods. With nano-biological imaging, TEM provides accurate and reliable insight for certain pathologies.


Techniques

Single Particle Analysis

Single particle analysis (SPA) is a cryo-electron microscopy technique that enables structural characterization at near-atomic resolutions, unraveling dynamic biological processes and the structure of biomolecular complexes/assemblies.

Learn more ›

Cryo-Tomography

Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) delivers both structural information about individual proteins as well as their spatial arrangements within the cell. This makes it a truly unique technique and also explains why the method has such an enormous potential for cell biology. Cryo-ET can bridge the gap between light microscopy and near-atomic-resolution techniques like single-particle analysis.

Learn more ›

MicroED

MicroED is an exciting new technique with applications in the structural determination of small molecules and protein. With this method, atomic details can be extracted from individual nanocrystals (<200 nm in size), even in a heterogeneous mixture.

Learn more ›

Large Volume Analysis

A novel serial block-face imaging (SBFI) solution that combines multi-energy deconvolution scanning electron microscopy (MED-SEM) with in situ sectioning. Automation and ease-of-use functions provide isotropic resolution for large volume samples.

Learn more ›

Integrative Structural Biology

To understand protein function, you need complex and structure information beyond individual proteins. Integrative structural biology combines mass spectrometry and cryo EM for the determination of large dynamic complex structure.

Learn more ›

Cryo-EM Sample Preparation

Successful protein preparation lies at the base of any successful structural biology technique. For cryo-electron microsocopy, a wide range of solutions is required to achieve the highest sample quality before freezing of the specimen on the EM grid.

Learn more ›

Single Particle Analysis

Single particle analysis (SPA) is a cryo-electron microscopy technique that enables structural characterization at near-atomic resolutions, unraveling dynamic biological processes and the structure of biomolecular complexes/assemblies.

Learn more ›

Cryo-Tomography

Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) delivers both structural information about individual proteins as well as their spatial arrangements within the cell. This makes it a truly unique technique and also explains why the method has such an enormous potential for cell biology. Cryo-ET can bridge the gap between light microscopy and near-atomic-resolution techniques like single-particle analysis.

Learn more ›

MicroED

MicroED is an exciting new technique with applications in the structural determination of small molecules and protein. With this method, atomic details can be extracted from individual nanocrystals (<200 nm in size), even in a heterogeneous mixture.

Learn more ›

Large Volume Analysis

A novel serial block-face imaging (SBFI) solution that combines multi-energy deconvolution scanning electron microscopy (MED-SEM) with in situ sectioning. Automation and ease-of-use functions provide isotropic resolution for large volume samples.

Learn more ›

Integrative Structural Biology

To understand protein function, you need complex and structure information beyond individual proteins. Integrative structural biology combines mass spectrometry and cryo EM for the determination of large dynamic complex structure.

Learn more ›

Cryo-EM Sample Preparation

Successful protein preparation lies at the base of any successful structural biology technique. For cryo-electron microsocopy, a wide range of solutions is required to achieve the highest sample quality before freezing of the specimen on the EM grid.

Learn more ›

Samples


Proteins Analysis

Cryo-electron microscopy provides near-atomic resolution 3D protein structure. It can determine structural information for complexes and crystallization-resistant samples, as well as vital cellular context.

Learn more ›


Biopharmaceutical Research

Structural drug discovery is enabled by cryo-electron microscopy, as the method provides near-atomic-resolution detail for small molecules and protein biologics in their fully hydrated state.

Learn more ›


Virus Analysis

Cryo-EM enables the 3D structural visualization of virus particles, and the antigen-antibody interface, at near-atomic resolutions. A virus’s inherent structural symmetry makes it the ideal target for cryo-EM analysis.

Learn more ›


Products

Style Sheet for Instrument Cards Original

Krios Rx Cryo-TEM

  • Industry leading productivity and ease of use
  • Fixed 300 kV voltage for SPA only
  • Pharma-dedicated service package for guaranteed reliability

Krios G4 Cryo-TEM

  • Improved ergonomics
  • Fits more easily into new and existing labs
  • Maximized productivity and automation
  • Best image quality for high-resolution 3D reconstruction

Glacios Cryo-TEM

  • Flexible Accelerating Voltage 80-200 kV
  • Industry-leading Autoloader for cryogenic sample manipulation
  • Small footprint
  • Enhanced ease-of-use

Tundra Cryo-TEM

  • Structural information at biologically relevant resolution
  • Space efficient and cost effective
  • Easy, iterative sample optimization
  • Unique AI algorithms for streamlined data collection

Talos Arctica TEM

  • Increased data acquisition speed
  • High data with robotic sample handling & automated loading
  • Unattended platform operation and automated data acquisition
  • Low cost of ownership with remote diagnostics and preventive service

Talos F200C TEM

  • Flexible EDS analysis reveals chemical information
  • High-contrast, high-quality TEM and STEM imaging
  • Ceta 16 Mpixel CMOS camera provides large field of view and high read-out speed

Talos L120C TEM

  • Increased stability
  • 4k × 4K Ceta CMOS camera
  • TEM magnification range from 25–650 kX
  • Flexible EDS analysis reveals chemical information

Prisma E SEM

  • Entry-level SEM with excellent image quality
  • Easy and quick sample loading and navigation for multiple samples
  • Compatible with a wide range of materials thanks to dedicated vacuum modes

Quattro ESEM

  • Ultra-versatile high-resolution FEG SEM with unique environmental capability (ESEM)
  • Observe all information from all samples with simultaneous SE and BSE imaging in every mode of operation

Apreo 2 SEM

  • High-performance SEM for all-round nanometer or sub-nanometer resolution
  • In-column T1 backscatter detector for sensitive, TV-rate materials contrast
  • Excellent performance at long working distance (10 mm)

Verios 5 XHR SEM

  • Monochromated SEM for sub-nanometer resolution over the full 1 keV to 30 keV energy range
  • Easy access to beam landing energies as low as 20 eV
  • Excellent stability with piezo stage as standard

VolumeScope 2 SEM

  • Isotropic 3D data from large volumes
  • High contrast and resolution in high and low vacuum modes
  • Simple switch between normal SEM use and serial block-face imaging

Helios Hydra DualBeam

  • 4 fast switchable ion species (Xe, Ar, O, N) for optimized PFIB processing of a widest range of materials
  • Ga-free TEM sample preparation
  • Extreme high resolution SEM imaging

Scios 2 DualBeam

  • Full support of magnetic and non-conductive samples
  • High throughput subsurface and 3D characterization
  • Advanced ease of use and automation capabilities

Aquilos 2 Cryo-FIB

  • Automation enables production of multiple lamellas
  • Target and extract your structure of interest with lift-out nano-manipulator
  • 3D visualization for high-resolution tomography

Vitrobot System

  • Fully Automated Sample vitrification
  • Blotting Device
  • Semi-Automated Grid Transfer
  • High Sample Throughput

Selectris and Selectris X Imaging Filters

  • Designed for high stability and atomic resolution imaging
  • Straightforward operation
  • Paired with the latest generation Thermo Scientific Falcon 4 Direct Electron Detector

Ceta-D Camera

  • Optimum performance at any high tension (20–300 kV)
  • Compatible with post-column filters and spectrometers
  • Movie acquisition for dynamic studies

Falcon 4 Detector

  • Leading detective quantum efficiency
  • 10x shorter exposure time than its predecessor
  • Fully embedded in Thermo Scientific software
  • Built in data management

Tomography 5
Software

  • Automated multi-site batch tomography
  • Automatic cassette mapping
  • Dose symmetric tilt scheme for optimal electron dose
  • Fully integrated with Selectris Imaging Filters

Maps Software

  • Acquire high resolution images over large areas
  • Easily find regions of interest
  • Automate image acquisition process
  • Correlate data from different sources

Auto Slice and View 4.0 Software

  • Automated serial sectioning for DualBeam
  • Multi-modal data acquisition (SEM, EDS, EBSD)
  • On-the-fly editing capabilities
  • Edge based cut placement

Inspect 3D Software

  • Image processing tools and filters for cross-correlation
  • Feature tracking for image alignment
  • Algebraic reconstruction technique for iterative projection comparison

Amira Software
Life Sciences

  • Import and process image data
  • Auto-segmentation, object separation, labeling
  • Analyze and quantify with automated statistics
  • Create images, animations and videos

EPU 2 Software

  • Microscope-embedded solution for single particle acquisition
  • Optimized for high-throughput particle collection
  • Compatible with film, CCD cameras, and direct electron detectors


Contact us

Electron microscopy services for
the life sciences

To ensure optimal system performance, we provide you access to a world-class network of field service experts, technical support, and certified spare parts.

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