Soft X-ray Microscopy

Soft X-ray Microscopy

Soft x-ray microscopy is most commonly used for researching the elemental composition and structure of biological samples. With a wavelength range between 300 eV – 3 keV, soft x-ray microscopes are capable of achieving spatial resolution of several hundred Ångströms (Å).

The primary advantage of soft x-ray microscopy is its ability to form the highest-spatial-resolution images of thick, hydrated biological samples without time-consuming sample preparation required for techniques using electron microscopes. Also, as biological samples mostly comprise of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen, their primary absorption edges in the water window. Therefore, soft x-ray microscopes provide excellent spectroscopic information and deliver high-contrast images.

Cameras for Soft X-Ray Microscopy

PIXIS XO photo


Soft x-rays require high resolution and sensitivity to obtain very small chemical information of biological samples. The PIXIS XO offers excellent resolution and sensitivity for soft x-rays, directly detecting x-rays in the 30 eV – 20 keV range.

The PIXIS XO comes with a wide selection of CCDs without antireflective coating for ultimate experimental flexibility. The ultra-high-vacuum-seal design further enhances the flexibility of the PIXIS XO, with software-selectable gains and readout speeds.

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High frame rates can be important within biological samples. The PI-MTE3 is able to offer in-vacuum detection of x-rays at high frame rates to ensure that no information is lost.

With large format, deep-cooled CCDs, the PI-MTE is highly sensitive over the 10 eV – 30 keV range, ideal for direct detection of soft x-rays.

Soft x-ray microscopy is able to resolve to several hundred Ångströms and therefore requires low noise. The PI-MTE3 is liquid cooled, resulting in low dark current over long integration times.

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PIXIS XF photo


High spatial resolution is an important factor for soft x-ray microscopy. The PIXIS XF utilizes fiberoptic coupling to preserve the highest spatial resolution, imaging indirect x-rays less than 3 keV in energy.

The unique mechanical design allows for outstanding flexibility. Specialized, removable phosphor screens allow for optimization of the system, with the PIXIS XF coming with a choice of front- or back-illuminated CCDs for different experimental design.

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