Upgrade of Aquilos to Aquilos 2 cryo-focused ion beam scanning electron microscope. In our original
proposed budget, we requested ~$1M for a focused ion beam instrument. We did not specify the
manufacturer of such instrument (i.e. Thermo Fisher or Zeiss). The recent announcement from Thermo
Fisher of the Aquilos 2 (~$1.38M), offers multiple exciting features. It has the capabilities of performing
lift-out, slice and view and automated milling with 20+ lamellae in 13 hours of operation. These results
suggest that cryoFIB can become an automated procedure on very thick, high-pressure vitrified samples.
This would be a highly sought-after capability of our Service Center, because we anticipate that there
will be a significant demand if we can begin to work with tissues tens to hundreds of microns in
thickness. These performance specifications and the results shown by Thermo Fisher are exciting. If
funded, we will also investigate whether Zeiss can offer a similar or superior instrument before we make
a purchase decision. Certainly, we will consult with our European colleagues who have the prototypes of
the new instrument in terms of its robustness as a user facility as in our Center.