Skip navigation
The National Center for X-ray Tomography

       This is Science Today. The National Center for X-ray Tomography, located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is the first facility of its kind that's devoted to biochemical research. Carolyn Larabell, director of the center, says they've developed a technique called soft x-ray tomography that's giving researchers the ability to image cells like never before.

Larabell:        You get very high contrast, natural contrast images of cellular structures. Basically, just like doing a CT scan of the head or the knee, except we're doing it a the cellular level at much better resolution, meaning you can see smaller things.

Narrator:       Just how small? Larabell says their powerful microscope allows them to see structures that are 1/100th the diameter of a human hair.

Larabell:        Then you can look into the structures of the cell, look inside of the cell, see the nucleus and the organelles in the cells, such as mitochondria, where energy is made, the nucleus, where the genes are and gene transcription occurs. The other thing that it does uniquely is give us three-dimensional views.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.