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Irish SME announces world’s first commercial deployment of novel table-top soft X-ray microscope

SiriusXT, an Irish technology SME, has announced the world’s first commercial deployment of the SXT-100, the company’s unique table-top soft X-ray microscope with applications in disease research and the drug discovery process. The microscope will be formally unveiled on 7 November at the University College Dublin Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research.

Soft X-ray microscopy (SXM) is the only nanometre-resolution 3D imaging modality that is capable of imaging the whole internal structure of intact biological cells. It is used in disease and therapeutic research to help scientists to better understand disease causation and transmission mechanisms as well as to validate therapeutic effectiveness in the drug discovery process.

Until now, SXM has only been available at six worldwide (UK, Germany, Spain, USA, China and Taiwan) synchrotron facilities, which can typically be the size of several football pitches, with the capability of producing the soft X-ray illumination required for 3D imaging at the nanometre scale.

SiriusXT’s innovation, following years of research by the company’s co-founders at UCD, has been to miniaturise the soft X-ray illumination source to a small chamber that enables the construction of a table-top microscope.

This patented technological breakthrough now allows SXM to be deployed globally at thousands of disease and therapeutic research laboratories.

“The deployment of the SXT-100 at the UCD Conway Institute is an outstanding example of the University’s research and innovation intensive focus and on the emphasis we place on translating fundamental research outputs into innovative products, such as the SXT-100 microscope, which will lead to a greater understanding of health and disease, with the ultimate aim of informing novel drug discoveries,” said Professor Jeremy Simpson, Dean of
Science and Principal, UCD College of Science.

He added: “The SXT-100 will now complement other cell imaging resources at the UCD Conway Institute and across the UCD College of Science and it will help UCD-based scientists to progress their research as well as to strengthen collaboration with their peers and industry partners, nationally and internationally.”

Dr Dimitri Scholz, Director of Biological Imaging, UCD Conway Institute, said: “We are really excited to be the world’s first imaging laboratory to have a SXT-100. This will enable researchers in academia and industry to close the resolution gap between light and electron microscopy as well as to run multiple correlative microscopy projects using combinations of light, soft X-ray and electron microscopy.’’

SiriusXT, an award-winning company headquartered in Dublin, was co-founded by Tony McEnroe, Dr Fergal O’Reilly, Dr Kenneth Fahy and Dr Paul Sheridan, as a UCD spin-out company.

More than 20 European and US-based organisations are currently evaluating the SXT-100 across a wide range of disease research and drug discovery applications. The first international orders are expected in the coming months.


Pictured (l-r) at the UCD Conway Institute are:
Dr Dimitri Scholz, Director of Biological Imaging, UCD Conway Institute; Professor Jeremy Simpson, Dean of Science and Principal, UCD College of Science and Dr Kenneth Fahy, co-founder & Vice-President for Product Management, SiriusXT.

Credit: Vincent Hoban, University College Dublin