Guo, H.; Franken, E.; Deng, Y.; Benlekbir, S.; Singla Lezcano, G.; Janssen, B.; Yu, L.; Ripstein, Z.; Tan, Y.; Rubinstein, J. Electron-event representation data enable efficient cryoEM file storage with full preservation of spatial and temporal resolution. IUCrJ, International Union of Crystallography, 2020, 7
Direct detector device (DDD) cameras have revolutionized electron cryomicroscopy (cryoEM) with their high detective quantum efficiency (DQE) and output of movie data. A high ratio of camera frame rate (frames per second) to camera exposure rate (electrons per pixel per second) allows electron counting, which further improves the DQE and enables the recording of super-resolution information. Movie output also allows the correction of specimen movement and compensation for radiation damage. However, these movies come at the cost of producing large volumes of data. It is common practice to sum groups of successive camera frames to reduce the final frame rate, and therefore the file size, to one suitable for storage and image processing. This reduction in the temporal resolution of the camera requires decisions to be made during data acquisition that may result in the loss of information that could have been advantageous during image analysis. Here, experimental analysis of a new electron-event representation (EER) data format for electron-counting DDD movies is presented, which is enabled by new hardware developed by Thermo Fisher Scientific for their Falcon DDD cameras. This format enables the recording of DDD movies at the raw camera frame rate without sacrificing either spatial or temporal resolution. Experimental data demonstrate that the method retains super-resolution information and allows the correction of specimen movement at the physical frame rate of the camera while maintaining manageable file sizes. The EER format will enable the development of new methods that can utilize the full spatial and temporal resolution of DDD cameras.