The Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology
Gallery and Structures
The Astbury Society
The Electron Microscope Suite is located on Level 5 of the Miall Building. It comprises five transmission (TEM) microscopes (FEI Tecnai F20, Philips CM10 (2) and Jeol 1200ex (2)) and one scanning (SEM) microscope (Camscan Series III). There is also a wide variety of ancillary equipment (coating units, ultramicrotomes, optical diffractometer, ultra-rapid freezing apparatus (including time-resolved) etc).
Work undertaken ranges from relatively conventional procedures such as resin embedding, metal shadowing and negative staining to development and application of new microscopy methods. In recent years there has been a renaissance in biological electron microscopy. This has largely been based on increased use of unstained specimens, especially frozen and hydrated. To this end, two of our TEMs have cold specimen holders capable of working at ~-170 degC. The ultra-fast freezing (~10 million deg C/sec) can also be used to trap key reaction intermediates with millisecond time-resolution.
Much recent progress has also resulted from developments in digital image processing. This allows 3-dimensional models to be produced by combining different views of an object. It can also lead to improved resolution by combining images (perhaps many thousands) from weakly irradiated specimens where the electron beam damage limits information recovery. One type of image processing mainly relies on diffraction of 2-dimensional crystals as means to combine the data. Another involves so-called single particle processing applied to separate objects.
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