BER Structural Biology and Imaging Resources
Synchrotron, Neutron, and Cryo-EM
U.S. Department of Energy | Office of Science | Office of Biological and Environmental Research

Cell and Tissue Structure

The following are imaging and characterization techniques that can be used to study cell and tissue structure.

Cryo-Electron Microscopy and Tomography

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) techniques use electrons to provide images of biological materials frozen in their native states. Materials range from proteins and nucleic acids to very large biological assemblies and complexes, and image resolutions range from nanometer to atomic scales.

Neutron Imaging

Neutron imaging takes advantage of hydrogen/deuterium contrast and the nondestructive, high-penetrating power of neutrons to study structures in a wide range of hierarchical and complex materials of biological relevance. Applications include studying plant-plant and plant-fungal interactions, soil pore structure and voids under environmentally relevant conditions, fluid transport and interactions in porous media such as the rhizosphere, and cavitation and gas embolism in plant-soil-groundwater systems.

Soft X-Ray Tomography

Soft X-ray tomography (SXT) is a non-invasive, three-dimensional imaging technique that can measure volumes, surfaces, interfaces, membranes, and organelle connectivity within intact cells.