Lei J, Frank J (2005) Automated acquisition of cryo-electron micrographs for single particle reconstruction on an FEI Tecnai electron microscope. J Struct Biol 150:69–80
AutoEM is a software package developed by Zhang et al. [J. Struct. Biol. 1356, 251] for semi-automated acquisition of cryo-electron micrographs from Tecnai series electron microscopes and is used frequently at the lowest level of automation. We report here on the new progress that we have made based on their preliminary work. A fourth low-dose state is created where the system can pre-select all the good holes in a grid square from a single CCD image taken at low magnification, making the system operative at much higher levels of automation. An additional control interface enables the operator to monitor the status of the program and the quality of the data, interact with the program, and direct the execution process according to intermediate results. When data acquisition is in progress, all useful information is automatically saved in certain text files which are easily accessible by a database. More detailed improvements and general advantages are illustrated and discussed. We have started to use the program to perform routine data collection. A number of applications show that the performance of the program is satisfactory and the quality of the micrographs and their power spectra acquired by the program is comparable to those manually collected under the same conditions.
Automated data collection