Hillsboro-based FEI has announced its largest order ever for one of the most advanced synchrotron light sources in the world. FEI’s cryo transmission electron microscopes and focused ion beam/scanning electron microscopes will form the core of the electron biology facility that will be used in conjunction with other structural biology techniques to enable new insights into viruses and cellular proteins.

The instruments will be located at Diamond Light Source on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus near Oxford, United Kingdom. Diamond, a third-generation synchrotron light source, generates high-intensity beams at frequencies that range from microwaves to hard X-rays, providing opportunities for scientific research in a number of disciplines.

"When the new Cryo-EM center opens in 2015, the UK's national synchrotron will house the essential tools needed to carry out a comprehensive and integrated structural biology approach for characterization of viruses and protein complexes," said Dr. Paul Scagnetti, vice president of FEI's Science Business Group. "Answers to many of the most important biological questions, from basic biological functions to complicated disease processes, can potentially be discovered by understanding the structure and function of the molecular machines that operate in this spatial regime."

Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, used by over 3,000 academic and industrial researchers across a wide range of disciplines including structural biology, energy, engineering, nanoscience and environmental sciences.

Integrative structural biology is a rapidly-emerging field that combines general methods including TEM. For this process Diamond's sophisticated computational capabilities are critical for analyzing the data from individual techniques and combining these results to obtain 3D structural analysis that spans the spatial scale from atoms to large multimolecular entities.

The systems will be installed in 2015.

FEI designs, manufactures and supports a broad range of high-performance microscopy. Headquartered in Hillsboro, FEI has more than 2,600 employees and sales and service operations in more than 50 countries around the world.

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