Femtosecond diffractive imaging of biological cells

M. Marvin Seibert, Sébastien Boutet, Martin Svenda, Tomas Ekeberg, Filipe R.N.C. Maia, Michael J. Bogan, Nicusor Tîmneanu, Anton Barty, Stefan Hau-Riege, Carl Caleman, Matthias Frank, Henry Benner, Joanna Y. Lee, Stefano Marchesini, Joshua W. Shaevitz, Daniel A. Fletcher, Sasa Bajt, Inger Andersson, Henry N. Chapman, Janos Hajdu

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In a flash diffraction experiment, a short and extremely intense x-ray pulse illuminates the sample to obtain a diffraction pattern before the onset of significant radiation damage. The over-sampled diffraction pattern permits phase retrieval by iterative phasing methods. Flash diffractive imaging was first demonstrated on an inorganic test object (Chapman et al 2006 Nat. Phys. 2 839-43). We report here experiments on biological systems where individual cells were imaged, using single, 10-15 fs soft x-ray pulses at 13.5 nm wavelength from the FLASH free-electron laser in Hamburg. Simulations show that the pulse heated the sample to about 160 000 K but not before an interpretable diffraction pattern could be obtained. The reconstructed projection images return the structures of the intact cells. The simulations suggest that the average displacement of ions and atoms in the hottest surface layers remained below 3 å during the pulse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number194015
JournalJournal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 14 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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