A simple and robust procedure for preparing graphene-oxide cryo-EM grids

J Struct Biol. 2018 Oct;204(1):80-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2018.07.007. Epub 2018 Jul 11.


Graphene oxide (GO) sheets have been used successfully as a supporting substrate film in several recent cryogenic electron-microscopy (cryo-EM) studies of challenging biological macromolecules. However, difficulties in preparing GO-covered holey carbon EM grids have limited their widespread use. Here, we report a simple and robust method for covering holey carbon EM grids with GO sheets and demonstrate that these grids can be used for high-resolution single particle cryo-EM. GO substrates adhere macromolecules, allowing cryo-EM grid preparation with lower specimen concentrations and provide partial protection from the air-water interface. Additionally, the signal of the GO lattice beneath the frozen-hydrated specimen can be discerned in many motion-corrected micrographs, providing a high-resolution fiducial for evaluating beam-induced motion correction.

Keywords: Cryo-EM; EM grids; Graphene-oxide; Motion correction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cryoelectron Microscopy / methods*
  • Graphite / chemistry*
  • Oxides / chemistry*
  • Specimen Handling / methods


  • Oxides
  • Graphite