Berkeley Synchrotron Infrared Structural Biology Imaging Program

About the Resource

The Berkeley Synchrotron Infrared Structural Biology (BSISB) imaging program, housed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), provides facilities and training for characterizing cellular chemistry and function using:

  • Synchrotron radiation-based Fourier transform infrared (SR-FTIR or sFTIR) spectromicroscopy
  • Synchrotron infrared nano-spectroscopy (SINS)
  • 3D synchrotron FTIR micro-tomography (sFTIR µtomography).

Other complementary microscopy and spectroscopic imaging methods include fluorescence microscopy, Raman microscopy, and simultaneous optical hyperspectral sample imaging.

Aqueous environments hinder sFTIR’s sensitivity to bacterial activity, but BSISB’s integrated in situ microfluidic systems circumvent the water-absorption barrier while allowing cells to maintain function. These systems enable real-time chemical imaging of bacterial activities in biofilms and facilitate comprehensive understanding of structural and functional dynamics in a wide range of microbial systems.

BSISB continues to build new chemical imaging capabilities, advance user-specific microfluidic systems and automation, and develop new software and machine learning for accelerating data analysis.


About the Home Facility

The Advanced Light Source is a DOE scientific user facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory sponsored by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences. ALS is a specialized particle accelerator that generates bright beams of X-ray light for scientific research. Electron bunches travel at nearly the speed of light in a circular path, emitting ultraviolet and X-ray light in the process. The light is directed through about 40 beamlines to numerous experimental end stations, where scientists from around the world (“users”) can conduct research in a wide variety of fields, including materials science, biology, chemistry, physics, and the environmental sciences.

Co-located BER Resources

Other ALS Capabilities

ALS is home to several X-ray macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamlines. This technique can be used to visualize molecules at atomic resolution, enabling protein engineering, the design of therapeutics, and the fundamental understanding of enzyme mechanisms and protein function.