About cryoSPARC

What is cryoSPARC?

CryoSPARC (Cryo-EM Single Particle Ab-Initio Reconstruction and Classification) is a state of the art HPC software solution for complete processing of single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) data. CryoSPARC is useful for solving cryo-EM structures of membrane proteins, viruses, complexes, flexible molecules, small particles, phase plate data and negative stain data.

What is cryoSPARC Live?

CryoSPARC Live is a software platform that enables:

  • Real-time cryo-EM data quality assessment

  • Decision making based on 2D and 3D results during live data collection

  • An expedited, streamlined workflow for processing previously collected data

  • Direct seamless interoperation with cryoSPARC for advanced processing

CryoSPARC and cryoSPARC Live enable:

  • Real-time cryo-EM data quality assessment and decision making during live data collection, as well as an expedited, streamlined workflow for processing already available data. See: About cryoSPARC Live

  • Ultra-fast end-to-end processing of raw cryo-EM data and reconstruction of 3D maps, ready for ingestion into model building software

  • Optimized algorithms and GPU acceleration at all stages, from pre-processing through particle picking, 2D particle classification, 3D ab-initio structure determination, high resolution refinement, and heterogeneity analysis

  • Specialized and unique tools for therapeutically relevant targets, membrane proteins, continuously flexible structures

  • Interactive, visual and iterative experimentation for even the most complex workflows


CryoSPARC algorithms

New manuscripts describing the expanded workflow in cryoSPARC and in cryoSPARC Live are in preparation. Currently, please cite the following papers as appropriate:

CryoSPARC implementations

Wrappers to third-party tools

CryoSPARC in Scientific Studies

Hundreds of structural studies have used cryoSPARC for cryo-EM data processing:


CryoSPARC was originally a research project with origins at the University of Toronto in 2014. As of 2016, all research and development for cryoSPARC is done by Structura Biotechnology Inc., a scientific software startup based in Toronto, Canada. By combining our expertise in image processing, algorithm development and professional software engineering, we aim to keep cryoSPARC at the forefront of software for cryo-EM. To that end, we are constantly working on new algorithms and software features which we release on an ongoing basis. CryoSPARC's GPU-accelerated code is written entirely from scratch in-house, with exception of certain wrappers to third party tools that are clearly indicated in the documentation. Many of the algorithms in cryoSPARC are novel developments for cryo-EM image processing and links to publications can be found throughout this documentation.

Version History

  • CryoSPARC v2.0 (released August 17, 2018) was followed by a number of new releases up to v2.15.0 (released May 13, 2020).

  • CryoSPARC v0.2.1 was the first public version of cryoSPARC (released February 7, 2017) and was followed by a number of new releases up to v0.6.5 (released January 12, 2018).