Imaging

The integrated BioCryo Facility provides a comprehensive source for characterization of biological, soft matter and hybrid samples with TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy), SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy), and STEM (Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy) at cryogenic or at ambient temperature. This facility provides expertise and equipment for cryofixation and processing of frozen hydrated samples by high-pressure freezing, plunge freezing, cryo fracturing, cryo ultramicrotomy, freeze substitution, and turbo freeze-drying. Conventional samples can be processed at ambient temperature with chemical fixation, dehydration, and resin embedding, or critical point drying.

The BioCryo Facility also offers analytical STEM with EDS (Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy) and EELS (Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy), serial sectioning for 3D reconstruction, and immunolabeling, as well as image processing. This repertoire of capabilities is constantly expanded by implementation of additional innovative instrumentation and techniques into BioCryo workflows.

In addition to offering training on instruments and sample preparation techniques, BioCryo staff mentors new users, advises on experimental design, and collaborates with researchers in experiments with challenging and unconventional samples. Similar to the other NUANCE facilities (EPIC, Keck-II, SPID), the BioCryo Facility participates in numerous educational and outreach events, e.g. workshops, seminars, demos, and facility tours.

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Analytical BioNanoTechnology Equipment Core (ANTEC) houses research equipment for the evaluation of materials and biological preparations in the bionanotechnology laboratory.  The core primarily serves Northwestern University researchers, and is open for visiting scientists and local industry researchers.

Some of the ANTEC equipment is unique to Chicago campus, including: Zetasizer Nano ZSP for zeta potential measurements, molecular weight determination, and advanced characterization of proteins, polymers, and other macromolecules; a state-of-the-art Cytation3 Automated Imager and Multimodal Plate Reader for fluorescence, luminescence, absorption assays and automatic cell imaging; two FreeZone 6 lyophilizers for freeze drying of biological and synthetic materials, a SpectraMax M5 Microplate Reader, a real-time CFX-Connect PCR detection system, a Kodak gel imaging system, an Azure300 Chemiluminescence Imager and a refrigerated centrifuge.  NanoSight NS300 with a fluorescence detection capability for nanoparticle characterization, will be located in the J-Wing of Evanston Tech building.

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The Materials Characterization and Imaging Facility (MatCI, formerly OMM ) offers a broad range of characterization and sample preparation equipment for use by internal as well as external users to Northwestern University.  Characterization techniques include optical microscopy, thermal imaging, thermal analysis (DSC, TGA), hardness testing (Vicker’s, Knoop, Rockwell), electronic characterization (Hall Effect, Impedance Spectroscopy, Kelvin Probe, Charge Transport) and rheological characterization.  Sample and surface preparation capabilities include mounting (castable mounts, hot pressure mounting, vacuum impregnation), cutting, sectioning and wafer dicing, polishing/grinding, electropolishing, ion beam milling and cross-sectional polishing.  Tube and box furnaces are available with temperature range up to 1700C for thermal processing.

 For more information about this facility, click here.

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SPID was created to drive interdisciplinary research bridging the gap between hard nanostructures, soft materials, biological sciences, quantitative mechanical and electrical analysis and nanopatterning. SPID provides a wide range of imaging instrumentation and support facilities for atomic to molecular imaging. It supports a broad range of nanoscale science and technology characterization needs at nanoscale by providing state-of-the-art resources coupled with expert staff. Research at SPID encompasses physical and chemical sciences, engineering and life sciences, and has a strong inter-disciplinary emphasis. Every week, several new users coming from NU campuses, academia, industry, and government laboratories learn to use tools available in the center to carry out their research projects.

The primary focus of SPID is to provide both quantitative and qualitative scanning probe microscopy and biomaterials nanopatterning based highly advanced instrumentations to enable materials, nanopatterning and biomedical research by a diverse group of scientists, industries and clinicians representing numerous disciplines. SPID works in partnership with several industrial partners and specifically Bruker Metrology Surface Division to develop advanced instrumentation for quantitative analysis. SPID serves as a hub for numerous global partnerships both in terms of facility development and research.

 

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The Quantitative Bio-element Imaging Center (QBIC) provides researchers with access to state-of-the-art imaging and quantification instrumentation while supporting its use with an expert technical staff that offers a range of services, including instrument training, sample preparation and analysis, experiment design, and grant proposal assistance.  The combination of both extremely high sensitivity elemental analysis and high resolution imaging enables QBIC customers to perform cutting edge experiments with ample staff support. For more information about this facility, click here. 

 

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The  Pathology Core Facility (PCF) of Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (RHLCCC) at Northwestern University is established in 1997.  PCF is functionally divided into three divisions/units, including core lab, biorepository and clinical trials unit.  Core lab includes all related tasks of routine histology, immunohistochemistry, molecular work, and digital pathology (all aspects of a research-based anatomic pathology laboratory including formalin fixation and paraffin embedding, automated and manual immunohistochemistry, tissue microarray design and construction, and automated whole slide scanning for digital pathology applications, including advanced image analysis capabilities). Biorepository division includes tissue and biospecimen procurement (a workflow that complements clinical patient care, the consent procedures which include statement of basic, translational and clinical research and PDX studies for potential therapies), detailed sample annotation (pre-analytic variables such as cold post-surgery time, frozen section evaluation, specimen tracking, and a quality management program); and well-controlled biospecimens and procedures (ensuring that clinically meaningful and reproducible data emerge from investigation). The clinical trials unit (CTU) provides service of institution, regional and national network and prepares trial cases of fast turnaround time and high quality trial materials and patients’ satisfaction. In conjunction with the Cancer Center’s Clinical Trials Office, the clinical trials unit participates in both industry based clinical trials and investigator initiated clinical trials. 

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Atom Probe Tomography (APT) produces a three-dimensional (3D) atom-by-atom image of a sample, with sub-nanometer spatial resolution and a typically 150 x 150 x 500 nm^3 analyzed volume, by simultaneous high resolution imaging and time of flight mass spectrometry. APT is particularly suited to study nano or nanostructured materials. The same samples can also be characterized by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), in a correlative study. To compare these experimental results with atomistic simulations on the same size scale, ab-initio calculations and Monte-Carlo simulations can be performed at our facility. NUCAPT operates a CAMECA LEAP 5000XS tomograph. Specimen tips can be prepared by electropolishing (metals) and from almost any material by FIB ( Focused-ion beam milling ). Ion beam sputter deposition creates thin film structures that aid with APT specimen preparation. Vacuum arc melting systems are available for syntesizing alloys and compounds. Thermocalc and MEDEA software packages are available for thermodynamic calculations and materials simulations.  For more information about this facility, click here.

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CAMI staff

The Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging (CAMI) provides access to imaging modalities ranging from the nanometer scale to whole animal imaging. These include MRI, nuclear imaging (PET, SPECT, and CT), in vivo bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging, animal housing and prep spaces, and tissue culture.  Image analysis services are available, as are software packages (JIM, Amira, Matlab) and a workstation for users to perform their own data analysis.  Imaging services can be provided for investigators' own animal models, or animal models can be supplied by the Developmental Therapeutics Core.

CAMI also houses a 2 photon confocal microscope operated by QBIC and atomic force microscopes operated by NIFTI.

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