Funded by DOE's Office of Biological and Environmental Research, the Berkeley Synchrotron Infrared Structural Biology Program (BSISB) has constructed Beamline 5.4, a new infrared beamline at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) to advance the imaging of living microbes relevant to DOE missions. Because of its unique location on the roof blocks of the ALS’s linac and beamline test facility, there is space available for the biological equipment necessary to grow and prepare living specimens immediately next to the FTIR microscopes.
Synchrotron radiation-based Fourier transform infrared (SR-FTIR) microscopy is a label-free, non-invasive molecular technique that couples the high brightness of synchrotron radiation with the high throughput and vast analytical capabilities of FTIR spectrometers. With a synchrotron source, FTIR microscopes are capable of diffraction-limited chemical imaging with signal-to-noise-ratios 100-1000 times greater than standard blackbody sources. This enhancement of spatial resolution and signal levels enables investigations of sophisticated microbial biochemistry for a broad range of innovative applications.