HILLSBORO, Ore., Jan. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FEI (Nasdaq:FEIC) today announced the availability of its Tecnai Arctica™ transmission electron microscope (TEM) for structural biology research. The Tecnai Arctica incorporates sophisticated automation, pioneered on FEI's flagship Titan Krios™ TEM, to elucidate the three-dimensional (3D) structure of biological macromolecules and molecular complexes. With the addition of the Tecnai Arctica, FEI now offers a portfolio of structural biology workflows to accommodate a broad range of facilities and budgets. The Tecnai Arctica is specifically designed for structural biologists who are focused on increasing productivity and reducing cost-of-ownership. The system's high throughput and easy-to-use, highly-automated workflow, combined with its lower acquisition cost, minimize the overall cost of analysis per structure. "Most proteins act together with other proteins in multi-molecular complexes, and understanding relationships between structure and function within these complexes is the key to understanding all living systems," said Peter Fruhstorfer, vice president of FEI's Life Sciences Business. "Traditional tools, such as X-ray diffraction and nuclear magnetic resonance, are limited to certain classes of molecules. Cryo TEMs, like our Titan Krios, and now the Tecnai Arctica, can look at virtually any molecule or complex of molecules in a native, fully-hydrated state. We believe that the role of cryo TEM in structural biology analysis, which has expanded dramatically in recent years, should continue to grow at an accelerating rate as instruments like the Tecnai Arctica TEM make the technology accessible to a wider range of researchers." Much of the recent progress in cryo TEM-based structural analysis uses a technique known as single particle analysis (SPA), which combines images of tens or hundreds of thousands of nominally identical particles to derive a high resolution, low noise, 3D model. The particles are first rapidly frozen in physiological solution to preserve their native structure. The Tecnai Arctica is part of a tightly-integrated, start-to-finish workflow, comprising cryo-sample preparation, data acquisition and analysis and final visualization, which greatly enhances the speed and efficiency of analysis. Its cryo-sample autoloader, combined with automated target identification and low dose imaging, enable unattended acquisition of large SPA data sets that are practically impossible to acquire with manual methods. Its streamlined user interface and extensive automation of routine operations and set up procedures significantly lower the threshold for operator expertise.