Design Principles and Applications of a Cooled CCD Camera for Electron Microscopy
Cooled CCD cameras offer a number of advantages in recording electron microscope images with CCDs rather than film which include: immediate availability of the image in a digital format suitable for further computer processing, high dynamic range, excellent linearity and a high detective quantum efficiency for recording electrons. In one important respect however, film has superior properties: the spatial resolution of CCD detectors tested so far (in terms of point spread function or modulation transfer function) are inferior to film and a great deal of our effort has been spent in designing detectors with improved spatial resolution. Various instrumental contributions to spatial resolution have been analysed and in this paper we discuss the contribution of the phosphor-fibre optics system in this measurement. We have evaluated the performance of a number of detector components and parameters, e.g. different phosphors (and a scintillator), optical coupling with lens or fibre optics with various demagnification factors, to improve the detector performance. The camera described in this paper, which is based on this analysis, uses a tapered fibre optics coupling between the phosphor and the CCD and is installed on a Philips CM12 electron microscope equipped to perform cryo-micros-copy. The main use of the camera so far has been in recording electron diffraction patterns from two dimensional crystals of bacteriorhodopsin—from wild type and from different trapped states during the photocycle. As one example of the type of data obtained with the CCD camera a two dimensional Fourier projection map from the trapped O-state is also included. With faster computers, it will soon be possible to undertake this type of work on an on-line basis. Also, with improvements in detector size and resolution, CCD detectors, already ideal for diffraction, will be able to compete with film in the recording of high resolution images.
KeywordsPoint Spread Function Modulation Transfer Function High Dynamic Range Gate Valve Readout Noise
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