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High-power near-concentric Fabry-Perot cavity for phase contrast electron microscopy.

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Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of vitrified biological macromolecules (cryo-EM) is limited by the weak phase contrast signal that is available from such samples. Using a phase plate would thus substantially improve the signal-to-noise ratio. We have previously demonstrated the use of a high-power Fabry-Perot cavity as a phase plate for TEM. We now report improvements to our laser cavity that allow us to achieve record continuous wave intensities of over 450 GW/cm2, sufficient to produce the optimal 90° phase shift for 300 keV electrons. In addition, we have performed the first cryo-EM reconstruction using a laser phase plate, demonstrating that the stability of this laser phase plate is sufficient for use during standard cryo-EM data collection.

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