BioCAT's Research and Development Projects

The BioCAT facility has been operating and available to the scientific community since 1998. The BioCAT beam-line 18 ID is a versatile and high performance instrument for a wide variety of biological non-crystalline diffraction applications. Fulfilling the potential of this unique resource for the biomedical research community requires constant investment of effort by the BioCAT staff and collaborators. In order to make the facility more efficient, useful, and able to exploit new scientific opportunities, we have undertaken the following core research and development projects for the current three year grant cycle (2012--2014):


Core Project 1: Time and Spatially-Resolved Fiber Diffraction

Aim 1) Improved detectors and beamline enhancements for time resolved diffraction and scattering

  1. High frame-rate, high sensitivity CMOS detector for time resolved SAXS and Fiber diffraction
  2. Higher energy operation for enhanced sample lifetime

Aim 2) Data analysis pipelines and multi-scale modeling for muscle diffraction

  1. Enhanced beamline control system for dynamic experiments with data analysis "pipelines"
  2. Multi-scale simulations for interpreting dynamic muscle X-ray diffraction data

Aim 3) Fiber micro-diffraction at small and wide angles

  1. Optimized fiber micro-diffraction instrument for both small- and wide-angle applications
  2. Advanced detector for fiber diffraction applications

Core Project 2: High-throughput and High-time Resolution Small-Angle X-ray Scattering

Aim 1) Improved detectors and beamline enhancements for time resolved diffraction and scattering

  1. Beamline automation for higher throughput
  2. Expanded Q range data collection to access larger complexes at higher resolution
  3. Combined SAXS, liquid chromatography, dynamic light scattering, UV/visible and florescence light spectroscopy for enhanced experimental control and information content

Aim 2) Time resolved SAXS capabilities for the study of nucleic acid and protein folding and kinetics

  1. Beamline automation for efficient data collection for slow time scales
  2. Efficient stopped flow for time resolved SAXS for millisecond time resolution
  3. Advanced microfluidic mixers with microbeams for continuous flow, sub-millisecond time resolution SAXS
  4. Pump-probe capability for sub-microsecond time resolution

Core Project 3: High-efficiency micro-emission elemental imaging and micro-absorption spectroscopy from biological tissues

Aim 1) A versatile, high flux instrument for X-ray florescence microscopy, small-angle and wide angle micro-diffraction and micro-fluidic solution SAXS

  1. Integrated capabilities for both x-ray florescence, small and wide angle diffraction
  2. Improved detection schemes for higher throughput, better spatial resolution
  3. Increased beam stability for higher reliability
  4. Strategies for background minimization to improve the sensitivity of florescence measurements and diffraction pattern quality

Aim 2) Upgraded capabilities for rapid X-ray fluorescence microscopy and micro spectroscopy

  1. Integrated light fluorescence and phase contrast imaging for improved sample visualization and registration of images
  2. Upgraded sample handling capabilities for cryogenic, BSL1 and BSL2 materials

Aim 3) Combined X-ray florescence microscopy and micro-diffraction imaging

  1. Coordinated data acquisition with GDA for efficient operation and improved data integrity
  2. Pattern recognition software to convert diffraction features quantitative indices on a pixel by pixel basis that can then be visualized
  3. Visualization and analysis software to evaluate and quantify correlations in spectral and diffraction features