Gatan launches the Alpine Direct Detection Camera for 100 – 200 keV cryo-EM

July 19, 2022

PLEASANTON, CA, July 19, 2022 – Gatan, Inc., a global leader focused on enhancing and extending the operation and productivity of electron microscopes, today announced the launch of the Alpine™ as the first direct detection camera to democratize cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) imaging.

Using a proprietary sensor optimized for 100 – 200 kiloelectron volts (keV), the Alpine camera now enables high-resolution cryo-EM research on more affordable, workhorse instruments that are available to the larger research community. Built upon the K3® camera's pioneering single-electron counting capabilities, Alpine improves the detective quantum efficiency (DQE) across all spatial frequencies, generating 0.5 Nyquist DQE up to 2.4-times the performance of scintillator-based cameras at 100 keV.

Currently, small molecule and macromolecular structures are primarily determined on 300 keV transmission electron microscopes. These 300 keV microscopes are expensive to purchase, maintain, and often have a long backlog of users waiting for instrument time.

"The early results we’ve already achieved provide researchers with high-resolution data to quickly optimize sample preparation, decide whether 300 keV instrument time is necessary, and free up valuable 300 keV time (days – weeks) to focus on the most demanding reconstructions," says Stephen Mick, Life Science Product Manager, Gatan. "By adding a large field of view, direct detection camera capable of high-resolution data acquisition to 100 – 200 keV microscopes, we believe this will alleviate the sample screening and data acquisition bottlenecks, and expect an acceleration in the number of structures solved."

"The addition of the Alpine will expand the operating range of our direct detection cameras to low-voltage, electron counted cryo-EM," commented Narayan Vishwanathan, Vice President and Business Unit Manager of Electron Microscopy Technologies. "This extension lays a new foundation, enabling more researchers to leverage the significant investments already made in their existing transmission electron microscopes for cryo-EM to develop antibody therapeutics, small molecule drugs, and diagnostics."

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Jennifer McKie