FEI Company’s Falcon Direct Electron Detector for its Titan and Tecnai transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) enables the acquisition of low-noise images of delicate biological samples and other beam-sensitive materials that require low electron dose interactions to prevent radiation damage of the material.
Limiting exposure to the electron beam is particularly important for biological samples that are primarily composed of a few relatively electron-sensitive elements and offer little intrinsic contrast in an electron microscope. Conventional fixing and staining techniques can improve contrast and dose tolerance, but introduce artifacts and increase the difficulty of image interpretation. Advanced cryo sample preparation techniques preserve biological structure but do not enhance contrast. The vulnerability of biological structures to damage by high energy beam electrons precludes the use of extended exposures that could otherwise be used to improve signal-to-noise.
The Falcon is a direct electron detector with improved quantum efficiency, capturing more information from a given electron dose, and accelerating the rate at which the signal-to-noise ratio improves over the exposure period. The unique design of the Falcon detector overcomes the excessive electron beam deterioration that was previously the primary technical challenge in developing a practical direct electron detector.
The Falcon detector offers 4K by 4K resolution and works in tandem with a CCD camera used for surveying and samples that are not dose sensitive.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery