How X-Ray Microscopy Works & How We Save You Time & Money

Excedr - X-Ray Microscopes

3D X-ray imaging provides labs with the quantitative tools necessary for a wide range of research. Our lease program can source all instrument types and accommodate any brand preferences you might have. See how leasing an X-ray microscope can benefit you and your laboratory.

All equipment brands/models are available

The Benefits of Excedr’s  X-Ray Microscope Leasing Program:

  • Eliminates the upfront cost of purchasing equipment by spreading its cost over time
  • Minimizes equipment downtime with included complete repair coverage and preventive maintenance
  • Takes advantage of potentially 100% tax deductible* payments, providing you significant cash-savings
  • Expedites the administrative work needed for instrument procurement and logistics
  • Conserves working capital,  enabling you to reinvest in your core business and operations (staffing, inventory, marketing/sales, etc.)
  • Accommodates all manufacturer and model preferences

*Please consult your tax advisor to determine the full tax implications of leasing equipment.

a microscope, an ocular lens, and microscopic image next to each other

X-rays, which are similar to visible light, are beneficial for creating an image of the internal structures of an object. This is because X-rays have higher energy.

X-ray tomography is perhaps the most well-known imaging technique that employs X-rays. However, this form of electromagnetic radiation isn’t exclusive to CT scanners and the medical imaging world. X-rays are also indispensable in the life sciences industry.

First, let’s review the basics. X-rays are defined as having wavelengths of 0.01 to 10 nanometers (nm). Depending on their wavelengths, they are further subdivided into soft and hard X-rays. Hard X-rays have high energy and relatively longer wavelengths of around 0.2 to 0.1 nm, while soft X-rays have lower energy and longer wavelengths of approximately 10 nm. 

The shorter wavelengths and higher energy properties hard X-rays exhibit mean they are excellent at penetrating deep inside of solid objects, making them useful for applications such as medical radiography. 

On the other hand, soft X-rays are more suitable for applications such as X-ray crystallography, which requires minimal radiation exposure. Soft X-rays are excellent for gathering the molecular and atomic structure of a crystal (i.e., a biological specimen or protein that’s been crystallized). 

Furthermore, soft X-ray microscopy has been used to bridge the gap between optical microscopy and electron microscopy. It is often performed at cryogenic temperatures. 

X-ray microscopy, specifically, uses electromagnetic radiation found in soft X-rays to produce magnified images of objects that would otherwise be invisible to the human eye. 

First, the object is shot with an X-ray beam, and the soft X-ray photons strike the sample. Because X-rays do not reflect or refract, a charged coupled device detector (CCD) or exposed film must be used to pick up the X-rays as they pass through the sample. Then, the collected X-rays are analyzed, and a magnified image is produced. 

A significant advantage that X-ray microscopes have over conventional microscopes is that, due to the penetrative properties of X-rays, biological samples can be imaged with minimal preparation and in their natural state. 

Additionally, due to their wavelengths being shorter than visible light, X-ray microscopes have higher spatial resolution compared to normal optical microscopes. Magnification is also comparable.

X-Ray Microscopy Methods, Techniques, & Costs

a hand holding an ocular lens

Microscopic techniques, such as optical, confocal, and electron microscopy, provide important information regarding the surface or near-surface of a sample. However, internal information from the sample is often required as well. X-ray microscopy is capable of doing just that. It’s what makes it such an invaluable technique and tool in the lab.

While researchers have conventionally had to rely on invasive procedures to obtain internal structural information, X-ray microscopy provides a non-invasive alternative. This feature makes X-ray microscopy critical in several fields of study, including cell biology, medicine, and materials science.

Below we cover the main components, types, and techniques of X-ray microscopes and microscopy.

Microscope Components

X-ray microscope components can vary significantly based on design; however, each model typically has three main parts:

  • X-ray Optics
  • X-ray Source
  • Detection device

X-ray optics are specifically designed to manipulate X-rays rather than visible light because X-rays behave pretty differently than visible light. Visible light is easily redirected using lenses and mirrors. That said, X-rays change direction much less, as they are prone to penetrating and being absorbed by an object.

Instead, various techniques are used to redirect X-rays where they need to go. This includes diffraction and interference, typically in the form of various compound refractive lenses and zone plates and certain types of crystals and crystal planes.

Initially, a tungsten filament inside a vacuum tube was used as the X-ray source in these microscopes. However, the development of synchrotron radiation as an X-ray source opened up new possibilities in X-ray microscopy. The synchrotron light source was brighter and more brilliant and tunable and coherent as well.

Furthermore, synchrotron radiation-producing imaging systems can be coupled with spectroscopy to map chemical composition with sub-micron resolution. This includes X-ray fluorescence and X-ray spectroscopy.

There are different types of X-ray detectors for other applications. However, one of the most common detection devices in X-ray microscopes tends to be the charge-coupled device (CCDs) detector, a highly sensitive photon detector essential to digital imaging today. These detectors are excellent for measuring spatial intensity distributions.

Other detectors include X-ray photographic film, image plates, scanning point detectors, converter screens, and more.


Full Field

X-ray microscopy is generally categorized as either full-field or scanning. However, full-field X-ray microscopy can be divided into two distinct versions. The first involves lensless imaging with parallel and conical beams. The second version is most commonly seen in transmission X-ray microscopes, which use the same optical configuration as conventional light microscopes and transmission electron microscopes.

Full-field microscopes use optical elements like Fresnel zone plates or refractive optics as objective lenses for high-resolution imaging and typically image the whole field of view to a detector plane simultaneously.



In a scanning X-ray microscope, a small but intensive X-ray beam is used to scan the sample, creating a finely focused spot or microprobe through which the sample is rasterized, or converted as an image into pixels. The extremely small X-ray beam is typically generated using focusing optics. In this case, an X-ray optic.

Each sample position produces an X-ray signal during the scan, which is then recorded. These signals include X-ray fluorescence, absorption spectroscopy, or diffraction. In this way, the sample’s elemental, chemical, and structural information can be determined.


X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)

Using high-energy X-rays or gamma rays, XRF microscopes can analyze the secondary, or fluorescent, X-rays that are excited by the sample. These secondary emissions can then be analyzed to produce an image.

When the gamma rays strike molecules, they fluoresce at specific energies, allowing for elemental image analysis. This technique also gives the user depth control and horizontal and vertical aiming control. Advanced models can analyze and image multiple elements at once.


3D X-Ray (XRM)

Besides electron microscopes, most conventional microscopy could not provide fully 3D, high-resolution images without destructive sectioning. That said, three-dimensional (3D) X-ray microscopy is an exception; it’s a non-destructive 3D imaging method able to image submicron to the nanometer scale.

X-rays’ inherent penetrative qualities and their ability to not harm organic material allow this to happen.


Scanning Transmission X-ray (STXM)

By employing a zone plate to focus the X-ray beam onto a specific and small area, STXM allows for analyzing wet samples. Specifically, STXM uses near-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy as the contrast mechanism to produce an image.

Samples in water pose issues when being imaged due to how various forms of light interact with water. X-rays can penetrate water and only interact with the sample.

Another significant advantage of STXM, as opposed to other similar transmission microscopy techniques, is that it inflicts relatively minimal damage to the actual material.


X-Ray Diffraction

Three-dimensional X-ray diffraction microscopy, which has led to the implementation of high-energy X-ray diffraction microscopy (HEDM), is a somewhat young technique. However, it is pretty powerful (and, of course, nondestructive).

X-ray diffraction microscopy uses the far-field scattering of coherent X-rays to form the 2D or 3D image of a scattering object in a way that resembles crystallography.

HEDM generates a map of the internal crystalline structure of a sample and allows researchers to obtain specific information regarding the object’s internal measurements on a tiny scale.

Thanks to its non-destructive qualities in hard materials like ceramics and metals, it is an invaluable technique in materials science.


Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen

X-rays were discovered by professor Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895. While a professor of physics at the University of Würzurg, he was looking into how vacuum tubes would react to various forms of external stimuli.

During his studies, while working with a tube where an aluminum window was added to allow for a cathode ray to escape, the tube was covered with a cardboard box. This was meant to prevent any light from escaping; however, during his experiments, he noticed that the cathode rays caused a fluorescent effect on the part of the cardboard that was painted with barium platinocyanide.

Determined to satisfy his curiosity, Röntgen reconstructed his initial setup, only this time using a black cardboard box and a thicker walled tube. Passing an electric charge through the tube with a coil, he turned off the lights of his lab to test that the cardboard box was indeed lightproof.

When he did this, he noticed that the barium platinocyanide screen he intended to use was shimmering. Immediately he speculated that it must be due to some new type of ray that he temporarily labeled the “X-ray.” The X was denoting that it was still unknown. For the next few days, Röntgen would spend every waking hour in his lab testing what was causing this glow.

He produced the first X-ray image of his wife’s hand during his initial experiments, showing the bones inside. When he showed it to her, she exclaimed that “I have seen my death!”

Röntgen would publish all his findings in a paper called “On A New Kind of Rays” on December 28th, 1895. The radiation would be called Röntgen radiation, after Wilhelm Röntgen, but would continue to be known as X-ray.


3D X-Ray Microscope Leases to Fit Every Need

an ocular lens and eyepiece tube with a microscopic image displayed

However, purchasing an X-ray microscope outright can potentially hamstring your budget, leaving your research negatively impacted. 

Nonetheless, with critical work and milestones on the line, you need to access the necessary equipment to get the job done. Avoid the upfront costs associated with purchasing and consider leasing instead. 

Our program is designed to alleviate the burdens of equipment procurement and allow labs of all sizes to access the technology they need without affecting operations negatively.

Whatever type of X-ray system you’re interested in, be it X-Ray spectrometers or microscopes, we have you covered. If you have an instrument quote from a manufacturer, feel free to request a lease estimate below. We’ll create customized lease terms just for you. Alternatively, if you’d just like to discuss your financing options in further detail, get in touch with us above!

Operating Lease

This off-balance sheet financing structure provides three options at the end of the term. The lessee has the option to return the equipment to the lessor, renew at a discounted rate, or purchase the instrument for the fair market value. Monthly payments are also 100% tax deductible which yields additional monetary savings.


If you recently bought equipment, Excedr can offer you cash for your device and convert your purchase into a long-term rental. This is called a sale leaseback. If you’ve paid for equipment within the last ninety days, we can help you recoup your investment and allow you to make low monthly payments. This also frees up money in your budget rather than tying it down to a fixed asset.

X-ray Microscope Manufacturers & Models
Learn More

Xradia 610 Versa, Xradia 620 Versa, Xradia 510 Versa, Xradia 410 Versa, Xradia 810 Ultra, Xradia 800 Ultra, Xradia Synchrotron Family, Xradia 800 Synchrotron, Xradia 825 Synchrotron

SKYS12CAN 1273, SKYSCAN 2214, SKYSCAN 1272, SKYSCAN 1275



and more!


Operating Capital Benefits

Operating Capital Benefits

Excedr's operating lease structure allows you to keep your business credit line open for expansions, staffing, and other operational expenses. Additionally, it strengthens the cash flow of your business and keeps cash reserves free for business development opportunities.

Effects on Credit

Effects on Credit

Leasing / renting provides you with non-dilutive financing and does not hinder your future borrowing ability. You're able to acquire the equipment you need without the baggage associated with traditional financing.

Speed of Approval

Speed of Approval

Excedr's program allows you to respond quickly as your need for equipment and technology arises. You can be approved with minimal documentation and have the equipment you need in operation and generating revenue for your business quickly.

Refurbished Equipment

Refurbished Equipment

Unlike traditional financing and leasing companies, the Excedr program can accommodate refurbished equipment in addition to demo units. If you are looking for additional cost-savings, we recommend considering this option.