ERIC Euro-BioImaging


Horiba XGT-9000 Micro-XRF Analytical Microscope

Micro X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy is an imaging technique based on the excitation of a sample with a photon beam of energy of 50 keV and a diameter of 15 mm and the detection of resulting characteristic X-ray fluorescence rays during raster scanning of the sample. It allows the localization of elements in various solid patterns: biological tissues, geological materials, metals, cultural heritage artifacts. With the Horiba XGT-9000 microscope, it is possible to scan samples ranging in size from 15 cm to a few mm.



Analytical method of excitation of characteristic X - rays when irradiating a target with protons (Proton Induced X-ray Emission PIXE) is based on the detection of characteristic X-ray spectral lines, emitted by a sample when it is bombarded with protons with energy in the MeV region. The protons are accelerated in a tandem accelerator and the focused beam is moved along the selected part of the sample in the form of a raster. The proton beam is collected with quadrupole lenses within a diameter of 700 nanometers (hence the name micro PIXE), such is the lateral resolution with which the elemental or molecular distributions in the sample are measured.



Secondary ion mass spectrometry with primary heavy energy ions in the MeV range (MeV - SIMS) is a technique used to analyze the molecular composition of solid surfaces and thin films through the use of a focused primary ion beam that ejects secondary ions from the sample. These are then analyzed via a mass/charge ratio, which is measured with a mass spectrometer. The measurement is able to determine the elemental, isotopic or molecular composition of the surface to a depth of 1 to 2 nm. The method is especially useful for imaging large molecules in biological tissues. Cl-35 ions with an energy of 5.8 MeV are most often used for the primary ion beam, where the ion beam is collected in a diameter of 700 nm.


Euro-BioImaging is the European landmark research infrastructure for biological and biomedical imaging as recognised by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). Through Euro-BioImaging, life scientists can access imaging instruments, expertise, training opportunities and data management services that they might not find at their home institutions or among their collaboration partners. All scientists, regardless of their affiliation, area of expertise or field of activity can benefit from these pan-European open access services, which are provided with high quality standards by leading imaging facilities.

Euro-BioImaging was granted the legal status of an ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) on 29 Oct 2019, and Euro-BioImaging became fully operational in December 2019.

In 2021, Slovenia became a full member of Euro-BioImaging ERIC. The Slovenian consortium of infrastructure centers dealing with biomedical and biochemical imaging (SiMBION) was founded in 2018. The vision of this consortium is to connect groups using different imaging methods with an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of biological and medical samples. In 2022, SIMBION applied for a Node in Euro-BioImaging ERIC, in order to provide a transnational access to its research infrastructure.

Department of Low and Medium Energy Physics at Jožef Stefan Institute contributes a highly focused and state-of-the art techniques to the SiMBION:

  • Elemental imaging of biological tissue on microscopy scale with highly elementally sensitive technique micro-PIXE.
  • Molecular imaging of biological tissue with a novel Imaging Mass Spectrometry technique MeV-SIMS.
  • Elemental imaging of biological tissue on mesoscopic scale with lateral resolution of 20 micrometers with micro-XRF technique

The Euro-BioImaging framework will strongly enriched the possibilities of Transantional Access (TNA) to the bioimaging techniques at the department, available within other EU projects/initiatives:  H2020 project RADIATE and Horizon Europe Research Infrastructures project ReMade@ARI (2022-2026).