Tailoring surface acoustic wave atomisation for cryo-electron microscopy sample preparation
Surface acoustic wave (SAW) atomisation has been widely explored for use in pharmacological delivery, hence performance is characterised predominately in terms of droplet size and maximum delivery of fluid, to ensure sufficient dosage is delivered to the right location. For the application of cryo electron microscopy grid preparation, however, what is required is the transfer of very little fluid onto the grid in a well-defined manner. To meet this requirement, the analysis of SAW atomisation needs to focus on very different characteristics. Specifically, we examine the aerosol jet geometry, in terms of width, cone angle, and elevation angle, and its stability at low power, and hence low flow rates. The variables used are the width and the location of the channel delivering the fluid to the site of atomization. From the experiments, it is observed that we can reach a flowrate as low as 0.55 μl s−1 with reasonable aerosol jet stability, a jet width of 0.5 mm wide and an elevation angle variation as low as 2°.
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