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Fig. 1 | Biophysical Reviews

Fig. 1

From: Cryo-electron microscopy: an introduction to the technique, and considerations when working to establish a national facility

Fig. 1

Gallery of images to show some common artefacts in cryo-EM. Insufficient rapid freezing leads to formation of hexagonal ice crystals (a), while warming of vitreous ice results in cubic ice crystals (b). Exposure to atmospheric water vapour during handling of frozen grids gives rise to condensation of large ice crystals (frost) (c), while contamination in the column or during transfer gives a more subtle-mottled contamination (d). To generate phase contrast, the TEM is defocussed. Close to focus images have lower contrast and finer features (e, 1-μm underfocus), while further from focus have greater contrast of coarser features (f, 3-μm underfocus). Cryo-EM samples are extremely sensitive to the electron beam. Radiation damage leads to destruction of high-resolution features (g, 10 e/Å2; h, 90 e/Å2), eventually bubbles of gas form in the ice (i). Specimen movement leads to blurring of information. Whereas previously images such as (j) would have been unsuitable for image reconstruction, motion correction of image ‘movies’ from modern direct detection devices rescues useful information (k)

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