A spotlight on Beamline B24
B24 is a dedicated biology beamline that bridges the resolution gap between electron microscopy and conventional light microscopy. It has been designed specifically to meet the rising demand for tomographic imaging of biological specimens under near physiological conditions.
The benefits of using Cryo-Transmission X-ray Microscopy (Cryo-TXM)
- Enables users to study the ultrastructure of vitrified whole cells at near-native states (no fixation, staining or micro-sectioning required)
- The wavelengths of the X-rays used allows longer exposures and serial imaging without significant radiation-enduced sample deterioration.
- Integrates with complementary techniques such as cryo-EM and light microscopy modalities.
- Provides the capability to capture images of cellular ultrastructure to a resolution of 25-40 nanometres.
The beamline is designed to operate at low (soft) X-ray energies in the region termed the “water window” although it has also the capability of operating at higher energies. The water window is the region between the K-absorption edges of carbon at 284 eV and oxygen at 543 eV. Between these two energies oxygen is virtually transparent to X-rays whereas carbon is highly absorbing. Thus there exists a natural contrast between the vitreous ice surrounding a frozen biological cell and the carbon containing structures making up the cell. Initially B24 will operate in absorption contrast mode within the water window. In time, phase contrast imaging will be developed and the beamline will be upgraded to allow the study of samples designated as requiring containment level 3 facilities.
Process and workflow.
The diagram below outlines a typical workflow at B24. Apart from the benefits of its close proximity to other techniques within the Diamond synchtrotron, this facility also houses two distinct microscopes alongside the beamline to enable the acquisition of complementary 3D imaging data on chemical localisation within samples under study at visible light super-resolution.
Meet the team
To find out more or to speak to one of the team, visit our team page.