Elsa Cryo-Transfer Holder for Cryo-Electron Microscopy

The Elsa cryo-transfer holder represents an innovative advancement in cryo-EM technology.


Specifically engineered for high-resolution cryo-EM and tomography experiments, this single-tilt liquid nitrogen holder facilitates the frost-free transfer of samples at liquid nitrogen temperature into a transmission electron microscope (TEM). It is particularly suitable for imaging radiation-sensitive, frozen-hydrated specimens for single-particle cryo-electron microscopy.

Key features

  • Extended hold time: Allows >9 hours below -145 °C and >8 hours of stable, high-resolution imaging.
  • <1.5 nm/minute drift rate: Ensures that image quality is high during data collection.
  • Larger dewar, redesigned from the ground up: Increases the liquid nitrogen volume by 2.5x.
  • Resolve <2.3 Å features: Enables high-resolution imaging even under cryo-conditions.
  • Centrosymmetric design: Reduces settling and drift during tomography by maintaining the center of gravity during a stage tilt.

The holder is equipped with two distinct tip configurations. The first, known as the ultra-low profile, employs the Gatan QuickLoad clipring-free mechanism for specimen fixation, enabling the highest tilt range among all existing side entry cryo-transfer holders (±80° tilt). In contrast, the standard tip, preferred by beginners, utilizes a clipring mechanism to secure the sample.

Breakthrough K3 result.

Breakthrough K3 result. A 2.7 Å structure of the 20S Proteasome with the K3 camera and Elsa cryo-holder on a TF20. Data courtesy of Alexander Myasnikov, Michael Braunfeld, Yifan Cheng, and David Agard.

Elsa Cryo-Transfer Workstation

Elsa Cryo-Transfer Workstation. Tutorial on how to load a cryo-sample, recover it, as well as dry the Elsa cryo-transfer workstation. Video Credit: Gatan, Inc.

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