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 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.
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.
To find out more or to speak to one of the team, visit our team page.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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