The Imaging Probe Development Center (IPDC) has been set up under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap as part of the molecular libraries and imaging initiatives. It comprises a core synthesis facility dedicated to the preparation of imaging probes, initially for intramural NIH scientists, and later, for the extramural scientific community. The facility opened fully in late 2006, in refurbished laboratories in Rockville, Maryland, and a staff of around a dozen was recruited into place by early 2007; the director was hired in late 2005. The IPDC provides a mechanism for the production of sensitive probes for use by imaging scientists who cannot obtain such probes commercially. The probes to be made will encompass all major imaging modalities including radionuclide, magnetic resonance, and optical. The operation of the IPDC is outlined, together with the results of interim achievements while the IPDC maintained a small temporary laboratory in Bethesda. As of December 2006, a total of eleven probe compositions had been made, and several of these are described with particular mention of those probes intended for use in optical applications.