C-SPAM: an open-source time-resolved specimen vitrification device with light-activated molecules

IUCrJ. 2024 Jan 1;11(Pt 1):16-22. doi: 10.1107/S2052252523010308.


Molecular structures can be determined in vitro and in situ with cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Specimen preparation is a major obstacle in cryo-EM. Typical sample preparation is orders of magnitude slower than biological processes. Time-resolved cryo-EM (TR-cryo-EM) can capture short-lived states. Here, Cryo-EM sample preparation with light-activated molecules (C-SPAM) is presented, an open-source, photochemistry-coupled device for TR-cryo-EM that enables millisecond resolution and tunable timescales across broad biological applications.

Keywords: C-SPAM; TR-cryo-EM; millisecond resolution; photochemistry-coupled devices; sample preparation.