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Enhanced FIB-SEM

At the forefront of volume Electron Microscopy, we welcome your collaboration to drive discoveries in biology, physiology, and pathology to a whole new level using the proprietary enhanced FIB-SEM technology and its unparalleled pipeline.


Isotropic high-resolution imaging of large volumes provides unique opportunities to study biology. Conventional Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM) offers high resolution (< 10 nm in x, y, and z) and robust image alignment. However, its prevailing deficiencies in imaging speed and duration cap the maximum possible image volume to less than 103 µm3. To enable large volume high resolution imaging, we have redesigned and transformed FIB-SEM to a robust imaging platform with 100% effective reliability: capable of years of continuous imaging without defects in the final image stack, termed enhanced FIB-SEM technology. (Xu et al., eLife 2017; US patent 10,600,615; Xu et al., Neuromethods 2020).

Technology & Discoveries

The enhanced FIB-SEM technology (developed at Janelia) has expanded the maximum imageable volume by orders of magnitude, enabling numerous transformational discoveries in life science. This unique pipeline has produced 3 Nature, 2 Science (cover page), 2 Cell, and 8 other publications from 2020 to 2022, many of which were major new landmarks in their fields.

Explicitly, the largest and most detailed brain connectome to date was enabled by this platform (Scheffer et al., eLife 2020). Additionally, inspired by an early collaboration with De Camilli Lab at YSM on the pioneering study of intracellular structures (Wu et al., PNAS 2017), we further advanced the technology and created the first open-access, 3D atlas of whole cells and tissues at the finest isotropic resolution of 4-nm voxels (Xu et al., Nature 2021). Using these high resolution large volume FIB-SEM data, Janelia scientists developed the first automatic reconstructions of 35 different cellular organelle classes (Heinrich et al., Nature 2021), while Solimena Lab at TU Dresden reconstructed the first 3D representation of microtube-organelle interaction and network in whole primary mouse β cells (Müller et al., JCB 2021). Furthermore, through our 3D FIB-SEM imaging of large intact liver tissues under different nutritional states, Hotamışlıgil Lab at Harvard was the first to link liver subcellular architecture to metabolic function, and showed that recovery of structural organization was correlated with restored function (Parlakgül et al., Nature 2022). Moreover, together with Mellman Lab at Genentech, we reported the very first comprehensive 3D FIB-SEM data of a T cell attacking a cancer cell (Ritter et al., Science 2022).

Overall, we have demonstrated the first complete powerful pipeline from high-resolution large volume imaging to subsequent analyses to biological/medical discoveries, representing the beginning of a new field of high-resolution large volume electron microscopy to reveal the structure-function relationships in biology.

Mouse liver from Lean to Obese with 8-nm voxels

Drosophila optical lobe with 4-nm voxels