Welcome to the NCXT

The National Center for X-ray Tomography develops novel imaging technologies for biological and biomedical research. A particular research focus is the development of soft x-ray tomography as a new tool for visualizing the internal structure of whole, hydrated cells. A major part of this development has been the design, construction and subsequent operation of XM-2, the world's first soft x-ray microscope for life science research. Located at the Advanced Light Source of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory the new microscope is now fully operational and in high demand.

We are also developing new light-based microscopy methods, such as high-numerical aperture cryo-light microscopy. This new modality allows cryopreserved cells to be sequentially imaged with light (fluorescence) and x-rays. The latter visualizes the detailed, 3-dimensional sub-cellular architecture, whereas light-based imaging provides information on the positions of fluorescent-tagged molecules within the cell. These two pieces of data are overlaid to form a single, information rich image of the cell. This is now producing powerful insights into cell structure and the local environment of the fluorescent-labeled molecule. This information can be integrated with molecular biology, genetics and computer modeling to greatly increase our understanding of cell biology.

The NCXT operates as a NIH research resource for biomedical technology. If you are interested in becoming a user of the NCXT, please visit the for users section of this site.

The NCXT was recently featured in the KQED program Quest. In this segment, first broadcast in Sept '12, you can find background on the Center and some of the research carried out by staff and collaborating scientists. The NCXT is a joint program between the University of California, San Francisco and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and is very grateful to be in receipt of joint funding from the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.