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Bio Lab

The IPS BioLab is located next to the IMAGE beamline. Its main purpose is to provide the workspace and necessary equipment to characterize and prepare biological samples for experiments at IPS.

A key aspect of the laboratory is the sample preparation for cryogenic experiments at the IPS hard X-ray cryo microscope, which will be installed at the IMAGE Beamline. For this purpose the laboratory is equipped with a high pressure freezer to process small tissue samples. Further, an automated plunge freezing system for cryo preparation of fluid or extremely thin samples is installed.

For tomographic experiments of larger biological samples, a critical point dryer allows controlled drying of specimens up to a size of several centimeters.

Two microscopes are installed to facilitate (fluorescence) light microscopy and stack photography.

Samples embedded into epoxy resin may be sectioned with an ultramicrotome for histological staining and correlative imaging (e.g. light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy).

The IPS BioLab supports both in-house research and user experiments, mainly in connection to the tomography beamlines TOPO-TOMO and IMAGE.


Methods and Services

  • Sample Preparation for X-ray Tomography and Microscopy
  • Plunge freezing: Shock-freezing of samples up to 50 µm thickness
  • Samples on TEM grids
  • High pressure freezing (operated by ITG): Freezing of tissue samples of about 100 µm thickness
  • Freeze substitution (operated by ITG): Embedding of cryo samples
  • Critical point drying: Gentle drying of larger samples for tomography or electron microscopy; Sample size up to several centimeters
  • Microtomy (located at ITG). Cryo sectioning for transmission electron microscopy; sections of about 50 to 100 nm thickness Correlative Imaging
  • Light microscopy: 5x, 10x, 20x, 40x, 63x objective lenses; multiple (automated) image acquisition options (z-stack, mosaic)
  • Stereo microscopy: Pre- and post-inspection of samples; moderate magnification (0.57-9.2x); Stack photography


Ansicht Bio Lab Equipment Bio Lab


List of equipment

  • High pressure freezer (Wohlwend HPF Compact 02)
  • Freeze substitution system (Leica AFS2)
  • Cryo ultramicrotome (Leica EM UC7 with EM FC7 cryo chamber)
  • Grid plunger (Leica EM GP)
  • Critical point dryer (Leica EM CPD 300)
  • Inverted visible light microscope (Leica DMI 6000B)
  • Stereoscope (Leica Z16 APO)
  • Real-time PCR cycler (Bio-Rad 185-5200SP2)
  • SDS-PAGE and western blot (Bio-Rad 165-8025MP & 170-3848MP)
  • Gel electrophoresis and imaging system (Bio-Rad 170-8195MP)

3D Printing

The 3D Printer

ANKA 3D Printer

3D printing facilitates the creation of three-dimensional solid objects from digital data. Widely used methods include Fused Deposition Modeling, where the model is formed by small beads of thermoplastic and Multi-Jet Modeling, which builds a model layer-by-layer using a print head. ColorJet Printing uses a color binder to solidify a core material. The different 3D printing techniques differ significantly in printing speed, resolution, color ability and costs.


The ANKA 3D printer (3D Systems ProJet HD 3500Plus) uses Multi-Jet Modeling technology to produce high quality, durable plastic parts. Three different resolution modes (HD, UHD & XHD) are available. The printer is primarily employed to create solid models from microtomography volumes acquired at  TOPO-TOMO and IMAGE. After the reconstruction of tomographic image stacks, segmented data from the volumes are converted into polygon surface meshes. Before printing, these digital models may be further manipulated by using specialized software packages. Another application is the production of specialized sample holders used for experiments at the different IPS beamlines.



uv curing photopolymer

wax as supporting material



HD: 375 x 375 x 790 DPI; 32 µm layers

UHD: 750 x 750 x 890 DPI; 29 µm layers

XHD: 750 x 750 x 1600 DPI; 16 µm layers


Max. Printing Volume

HD: 298 x 185 x 203 mm

UHD & XHD: 203 x 178 x 152 mm

3D Printing of Microtomography Data

3D print - tomogrphic volume





3D print - digital surface modell







3D print - original printout






3D print - coloured model
tomographic volume   digital surface model   original printout   colored plastic model










Undescribed amphipod from the Chiapas amber (23 million years old, Mexico) provided by Peter Vrsansky and Franscisco Vega supported by SRDA APVV-0436-12

Application Examples

painted weevil model in defensive posture    Cut hip joint of weevil    scull of common newt
Trigonopterus weevil in defensive posture¹. The hind leg‘s hip joint is marked (manually colored).   Cut hip joint of a Trigonopterus weevil, revealing trochanter (yellow) and coxa (green). The articulation closely resembles industrial screw-and-nut joints².   Skull of a common newt (Lissotriton vulgaris).

 ¹ Riedel, A. Zootaxa 2403, 59-68 (2010)

² van de Kamp, T. et al. Science 333, 52 (2011)