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Research Abstracts Online
January 2010 - March 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Science and Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

PI: Alon V. McCormick, Fellow

Cryo-Electron Three-Dimensional Imaging of Soft Materials

Cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (Cryo-TEM) is used to characterize labile systems that are not allowed in room temperature electron microscopy due to a high vapor pressure. Although soft materials are characterized with cryo-TEM, the original structure of the sample is lost. This is because a three-dimensional structure is projected to a two-dimensional image. These researchers used a single-particle construction method to visualize conventional two-dimensional images to three-dimensional microstructure with a high resolution. They are exploring an electron tomography method to construct three-dimensional images. This method combines a series of two-dimensional images that are collected at different angles and constructs a three-dimensional image. To do this, mathematical algorithms of cross-correlation and an image alignment must be combined and solved simultaneously. Computer calculations are indispensable in structure characterization study and allow researchers to understand the structure as electron microscopy collect and process the data. Such information will help reinterpret typical two-dimensional images of soft materials and their functionality.

Group Member

Han Seung Lee, Graduate Student