Recently, researchers Katerina Naydenova, Peipei Jia and Christopher J. Russo at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge developed a thorough understanding of the physics causing this movement and designed an optimised sample-support grid as a solution. This new type of grid, called “HexAuFoil”, was produced using a Moorfield MiniLab 080 electron-beam evaporation tool with cryogenically cooled substrate stage and low-contamination base pressures well into the 3 × 10-8 mbar.
Throughout substantial testing, HexAuFoil grids enabled massive reduction in sample movement during imaging. In fact, movement was reduced to the level of underlying physical limits—around the diameter of a hydrogen atom in amplitude. The researchers demonstrated the use of HexAuGrid foils for highly effective visualisation of molecular structure.
For more information, see their excellent article “Cryo-EM with sub–1 Å specimen movement” published in Science.
About the MiniLab 080
The researchers used a MiniLab 080 high-vacuum evaporation tool operating at a base pressure < 5 × 10-8 mbar. The system is equipped with a load-lock and a cryogenically cooled substrate stage which reaches a temperature of 80 Kelvin. As well as electron-beam evaporation, the unit is also fitted with supporting sources for resistive evaporation, allowing for a wide range of applications. The tool has a 6”/150 mm stage, 50 cm throw distance, wafer load lock, a compact form and an easy-to-use software interface with automatic high-precision rate and thickness control.
With high-vacuum base pressures, state-of-the-art hardware, compact footprints and powerful control, MiniLab tools provide flexible, powerful platforms ideal for R&D of any kind.
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