Cryo-EM Grid Clipping Station
The Nanosoft Cryo-EM Clipping Station provides unmatched ease of use and efficiency for the clipping of cryoEM grids for Thermo Fisher autoloader-based microscopes, with its design optimized for the clipping workflow. A high quality foam dewar integrates grid box storage puck access directly adjacent to the clipping space, increasing ease of use and reducing the potential for contamination transferring grid boxes from pucks in other stations. A new clipping design makes the workflow easier, and a well designed lid balances ease of use and protection. Furthermore, the Clipping Station is compatible with both NanoSoft and Thermo Fisher clipping tools.
The clipping station is available in three different variations. These are:
- The standard clipping station which consists of the Station Foam Dewar, Clipping Hub, Station Lid and Plug, 1 Clipping Tool Puck Rack
- The standard clipping station as well as 8 Clipping Tools, 2 C-Clip Bottoming Tools, 2 Clipping Tool Racks
- The standard clipping station as well as 16 Clipping Tools, 4 C-Clip Bottoming Tools, 4 Clipping Tool Racks
The clipping station is housed in a high quality, closed-cell polyethylene foam, i.e. the Spearlab foam. The foam is highly durable and cools down and warms up/dries off quickly. The inside of the foam dewar is designed to match the intricacies of the workflow; there are 3 cutout positions in the foam, each of which holds a component firmly in place such that it doesn't slide around during use. One cutout holds the clipping hub, which is the part used for clipping. The other 2 are the appropriate size to hold storage pucks. This allows you to place a storage puck directly and securely in the station adjacent to the Hub, so that grid boxes can be accessed without needing to transfer them through the ambient environment from another dewar. Furthermore, the Station comes with a puck sized holder for clipping tools, such that up to 33 tools can be pre-loaded with c-clips and placed in the holder to be cooled down while being held reliably in place; the puck and tools are in a position that is easy to access and enables seamless clipping of up to 33 samples at one time with one puck-full of tools. A valuable option is also to use the MiTeGen cassette puck - this enables you to load a cassette at the same time and in the same station where grids are clipped.
The Hub used for clipping utilizes a novel mechanism for moving the guidance cylinder, used to center the clipping tool over the autogrid ring, into and out of position. Instead of the rotating brass cylinder, which is often difficult to turn and can bend tweezers, the seesaw like mechanism requires the user to push down on either side of the cantilever beam to move the guidance cylinder into the position for clipping or into the position where the autogrid ring is placed or where the clipped grid can be picked up. Once the system and clipping tools are cooled down, and a storage puck placed into its spot adjacent to the Hub, the grid box holding the grids to be clipped can be moved to a grid box pocket in the Hub for easy grid access for clipping, and replacement of the autogrid after clipping. Furthermore, The Hub has 4 "on-deck" positions for clipping tools where they can quickly be accessed for rapid-fire clipping. The shallow hole where the autogrid ring is placed for clipping has a dark colored surface to provide better contrast and easier tracking for placement of the autogrid ring and picking up of the clipped grid with autogrid tweezers. Furthermore, grooves are machined into the Hub to enable inspection of the clipped grid to ensure that it is well clipped and to roll the notch of cryoET, FIBSEM rings into the right orientation.
The lid for the station provides a thoughtful balance between usability and efficient separation of the clipping space from the ambient environment. The optimally designed opening in the lid provides the ideal amount of space to access the cantilever, the grid box pockets in the Hub and the 4 "on-deck" clipping tools, all without needing to rotate the lid, and while providing protection from ambient humidity. Knobs on the lid enable easy turning to access and transfer other grid boxes or clipping tools to the Hub, and a Lid insert can cover the entire opening so that the clipping space can be closed off from the ambient environment completely during cool down and as needed. Furthermore, a silicone sheet is provided upon which the entire station can be placed to reduce station movement when rotating the lid.
The components of the clipping station are:
- A - Clipping Hub
- B - Clipping Station Lid
- C - Foam Dewar
- D - Clipping Tool Puck Rack (Shown with clipping tools. Clipping tools are not included with standalone clipping station but are available with the 8 or 16 tool versions)
- E - Clipping Station Lid Plug (See 2nd image)
- F - Base Mat (See 2nd image)