Evaluation of charging on macromolecules in electron cryomicroscopy

Jacob Brink, Michael B. Sherman, John Berriman, Wah Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


We describe procedures to assess charging of biological specimens under electron irradiation in an electron cryomicroscope. Charging can be observed by an expansion of the illuminating beam, blurring of electron diffraction patterns and by beam 'footprints' on the specimen. Discharging can also be seen in the defocused electron diffraction mode. We investigated the influence of a variety of factors on the magnitude and visibility of charging. A reduction of charging is noticed when part of the adjacent carbon film is included in the irradiated specimen area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages12
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryomicroscopy
  • Defocused diffraction
  • Electrical breakdown
  • Imaging charged samples
  • Secondary electron emission
  • Specimen current

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation


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