Focused-ion-beam thinning of frozen-hydrated biological specimens for cryo-electron microscopy

Nat Methods. 2007 Mar;4(3):215-7. doi: 10.1038/nmeth1014. Epub 2007 Feb 4.


Cryo-electron microscopy can provide high-resolution structural information about cells and organelles in the nearly native, frozen-hydrated state. Applicability, however, is limited by difficulties encountered in preparing suitably thin, vitreously frozen biological specimens. We demonstrate, by cryo-electron tomography of Escherichia coli cells, that a focused ion beam (FIB) can be used to thin whole frozen-hydrated cells in a convenient and essentially artifact-free way.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional / methods*
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy / methods*
  • Escherichia coli / ultrastructure*
  • Freeze Drying / methods
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Microtomy / methods*
  • Protons
  • Specimen Handling / methods*


  • Protons