Cryo-EM Facility

The Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility in MIT.nano enables automated electron imaging of cryogenically preserved specimens. Cryo-EM is primarily used to visualize the three-dimensional morphology of cellular components and structural details of macromolecules, organic nanoparticles, and other thin materials that are hydrated or sensitive to beam damage. Instrumentation in the facility is open to researchers from MIT, external academic institutions, and commercial companies, and facility staff provides training in sample preparation, microscope operation, and image acquisition. Coupled with other emerging imaging and characterization tools, the Cryo-EM Facility provides synergy across many research areas within MIT.nano and beyond. 

The facility was established in 2018 with support from The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, an Anonymous donor, as well as institutional support from the Vice President for Research, School of Science, and Departments of Biology, Material Science, and Chemistry. The facility includes two cryoTEMs, a cryoFIB-SEM, two different cryoplungers, and a laboratory space for cryo-specimen preparation.


Process to Access the Cryo-EM Facility

Access guides for:

MIT Academics   |   External Academics / Government   |   External Industry

Step 1: Become a MIT.nano user.

This multi-step process is found on the MIT.nano User Portal. Choose the appropriate designation (Internal or External) and follow the instructions. The Cryo-EM Facility is a focus facility in Characterization.nano. When selecting services, there are different tiers of safety training required:

  • For use of the Arctica and Krios – select Automated CryoEM Imaging
  • For use of the Vitrobot, Chameleon, and Aquilos – select Bio Prep Lab
  • If you will be doing BL2 work in any area – select Human Biological Materials

Step 2: Register your sample.

Each new sample brought to the facility must be registered in a project database via the MIT.nano CryoEM sample registration form. To register multiple samples you will need to fill the form more than once. External user samples may require registration on MIT.nano's Biological Research Registration in order to meet Institute requirements for research involving biological materials on campus.

Step 3: Request a session.

Submit the Cryo-EM facility session request form. After your sample is registered and your safety training is complete, we will schedule you for a training session with a staff member. Current users should use this form to request time on the instrumentation if they do not have access in Coral.

If you have any questions about this process or the facility, please email