Information provided on this page is to assist with the preparation of experiment proposals and beam time

Considerations for all experiments

Preparing your experiment proposal

When writing your proposal it is important to consider the current capabilities of the IMBL beam line.  The sections below details the support facilities and equipment currently available.

In particular, your proposal should contain the following:

  • Experimental setup:  A clear indication of which hutch your experiment will be conducted in - i.e. using Hutch 1B, 2B or 3B.  Further information on each mode is given below.  Note that each mode is typically only scheduled once in each round. Separate proposals should be submitted for each mode required.
  • Energy and spectrum:  Clearly indicate if you require monochromatic or pink beam, and the energy (or energies) required. 
  • Detectors:  Select which detector you wish to use and state the pixel size you require for those with 'zoom' capability.
  • Number of shifts requested:  A clear justification of the number of shifts requested will be necessary.  This must contain sufficient detail to allow the technical feasibility of your experiment to be assessed.  For example: 30 samples x 30 mins per scan = 2 shifts + 1 shift allowed for setup and cleanup.  Total number of requested shifts = 3.  Be sure to allow adequate time for setup and calibration procedures which can be lengthy - e.g. dosimetry for therapy experiments.
  • Lead times for animal imaging and therapy experiments:  IMBL recognises that some animal models may have unavoidable lead times of several months due to e.g. lengthy procurement, breeding or treatment procedures.  Please ensure that this information in included in your proposal (under "Impossible Dates") so that scheduling can accommodate these needs appropriately. 

To aid you in gathering this information a table can be downloaded here. Please fill this in and copy it to the proposal as an image (Pasting as a Word document is unreliable).

User procedures

Users should note that a variety of procedures may apply to their experiment, beyond the Experiment Authorisation form required by the AS, these additional requirements may include, but are not limited to:
  • Animal ethics for live animal experiments.
  • Information on anesthetics to be used must be indicated in the proposal, including poisons and handling information.
  • Dose and dose rate requirements.
  • Detail of animals to be brought or delivered to site, including type, number, housing requirements, etc.
  • Requests for facilities or instruments that require preparation prior to the experiment e.g. incubators.

Support facilities


  • Access to the general Chemistry and Biochemistry Laboratory will be provided for sample preparation, if required. Please indicate this on the proposal.
  • IMBL have a sample preparation room in the NBSP, which can be used as a PC1 bio-lab. In addition there are four laboratories in the Satellite building. Please discuss access to these with the beam line liaison scientist or the laboratory manager.
  • We have PC1 certification of two Animal Holding Rooms and one preparation area in the NBSP. One of the animal holding rooms in the SAT is certified to PC2. Users wanting to submit proposals to work on GMOs must discuss requirements with the IMBL scientists prior to proposal submission to discuss possible OGTR exemption applications.

Ancillary equipment at the IMBL for use by AS users

Except where explicitly stated, users should provide all consumables necessary for their experiment(s).

The following is a list of equipment that is available for use by IMBL Users as required. This list will be continuously updated with further acquisitions. Note, that all equipment will be preferentially allocated to groups with current beamtime allocation over other users performing procedures pre- or post-beamtime allocations. 
  • Leica M320 free standing surgical microscope
  • Leica M80 stereo microscopes on swingarm stands (2)
  • Leica M125 stereo microscope – suitable for mouse surgery
  • Leica DMI4000B inverted microscope
  • Olympus CK40 inverted culture microscope
  • Merck Scepter cell counter pipette
  • Merck Muse Cell Analyser.( Please discuss requirements for test kits with beam line staff)
  • Cold light sources for surgery
  • 2-10 °C refrigerators and -20 °C freezers for sample and drug storage
  • Thermofisher Mega 40R refrigerated centrifuge  (eppendorf to 2L capacity) – located in ST-1.26 Molecular Lab
  • Minifuge
  • Ratek Orbital Mixer
  • Temperature controlled water bath
  • Magnetic stirrer hotplate
  • Purelab RO water purification systems – lab and Hutch 3B preparation area
  • HERAcell 150i CO2 incubator† for cell culture
  • Panasonic MCO-19AIC CO2 incubator for cell culture
  • Herasafe KS18 biohazard (Class II) cupboard – located in clinical preparation area of NBSPA
  • Small autoclave – located near Surgery 1 in Hutch 3B preparation area
  • Ultrasonic bath for tools
  • Ohaus balances, various (0.0001g to 0.1g accuracy)
  • Pipetemans for aliquoting of solutions
  • Univentor 400 small animal portable isoflurane anaesthesia delivery system
  • Harvard Minivent mouse ventilator (with End Inspiration Trigger)
  • EPSON scanner for reading Gafchromic film

All user groups must demonstrate competence in the operation of equipment as a condition of use.


  • Users should bring external hard drives for take-away data and reconstruction, of sufficient capacity to accommodate the experiment. Disks with a USB3 interface are recommended.
  • Raw and processed data will be retained in our file store for 6 months following the end of the beam time. (See the AS Data retention policy. Document 17665). After this period the raw data will be submitted to an archive and can be recalled on request.


Description of IMBL modes

Mode 1 - Hutch 1B

Typical source to sample distance 22 m
Typical beam width (energy dependent) 10 mm
Typical beam height (energy dependent) 2 mm
Pink or monochromatic beam Both









This mode is not used for imaging. Most usually it will be used for radio-biology with a pink beam. A set of small slits within hutch 1B are used as the defining aperture. The sample table supports a fixed ionisation chamber, a motion control system on which the multi-slit collimator sits. A motion control stage for the sample, and a second ionisation chamber. A large area detector with heavy attenuation is available for imaging the irradiating beam. 

Mode 2 - Hutch 2B

Typical source to sample distance 35 m
Typical beam width (energy dependent) 100 mm
Typical beam height (energy dependent) 3 mm
Pink or monochromatic beam Both









This mode is used for small sample imaging and computed tomography, with limited phase contrast. It will also be used for dynamic micro-beat radio-therapy. The RT equipment is due to be installed by October 2014.

Mode 3 - hutch 3B

Typical source to sample distance 135 m
Typical beam width (energy dependent) 300 mm
Typical beam height (energy dependent) 30 mm
Pink or monochromatic beam Both









This mode is used for large sample imaging and computed tomography. The sample table is large (2 m by 1.5 m) and the detector can be positioned up to 6 metres from the sample to provide propagation phase contrast.

Detailed notes on preparation for particular experiment types are shown in the following links:

Preparation for imaging experiments

Preparation for animal experiments

Preparation for radio-biology experiments