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Open Access Publications from the University of California

SINGLE: Atomic-resolution structure identification of nanocrystals by graphene liquid cell EM.


Analysis of the three-dimensional (3D) structures of nanocrystals with solution-phase transmission electron microscopy is beginning to reveal their unique physiochemical properties. We developed a "one-particle Brownian 3D reconstruction method" based on imaging of ensembles of colloidal nanocrystals using graphene liquid cell electron microscopy. Projection images of differently rotated nanocrystals are acquired using a direct electron detector with high temporal (<2.5 ms) resolution and analyzed to obtain an ensemble of 3D reconstructions. Here, we introduce computational methods required for successful atomic-resolution 3D reconstruction: (i) tracking of the individual particles throughout the time series, (ii) subtraction of the interfering background of the graphene liquid cell, (iii) identification and rejection of low-quality images, and (iv) tailored strategies for 2D/3D alignment and averaging that differ from those used in biological cryo-electron microscopy. Our developments are made available through the open-source software package SINGLE.

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