The most appropriate cell imaging modality for a given bioimaging application is a trade-off between the deliverables associated with the optical setup of the microscope being employed, with sometimes no one system satisfying all of the biologist’s requirements. The trade-off is generally between; imaging resolution, imaging contrast, the field of view, beam penetration and cell imaging times.
The paper below explains how soft x-ray tomography, with its ability to image whole, intact cells with high resolution and high natural contrast, is a microscopy technique that straddles many of the requirements of the imaging application. It is ideal, as a stand-alone technique, where there is a need to observe the change in size or shape of cellular organelle that is distributed throughout the cell or to observe rare events within the cell. Its ability to distinguish nanoparticles in a cell makes it ideal for tracking and validating the delivery of nanoparticle-laden therapeutics to targeted sites in the cell.
Where the attributes of other imaging modalities can complement the strengths of soft x-ray tomography, it lends itself to correlation with these imaging techniques to produce better quality information for the researcher. Correlation with fluorescence microscopy, for example, will allow tagged particles, too small to be seen by soft x-ray alone, to be imaged in the context of the substructure of the cell. Correlation with electron microscopy can provide rapid pre-screening of a whole-cell so that specific sites of interest can be identified and then sliced to enable higher resolution imaging of smaller structures, thus accelerating the screening process.
A guide into the world of high-resolution 3D imaging: the case of soft X-ray tomography for the life sciences
Chidinma Adanna Okolo