At the same time, the team also established a speed record of 25 femtoseconds for flash imaging.
The new method will be applicable to atomic-resolution imaging of complex biomolecules when even more powerful X-ray lasers, currently under construction, are available. The technique will allow scientists to gain insight into the fields of materials science, plasma physics, biology and medicine.
Using the free-electron laser at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, Livermore scientists, as part of an international collaboration led by LLNL's Henry Chapman and Janos Hajdu of Uppsala University, were able to record a single diffraction pattern of a nanostructured object before the laser destroyed the sample. A Livermore-developed computer algorithm was then used to recreate an image of the object based on the recorded diffraction pattern. This "lensless" imaging technique could be applied to atomic-resolution imaging because it is not limited by the need to build a high-resolution lens. The flash images could resolve features 50 nanometers in size, which is about 10 times smaller than what is achievable with an optical microscope.
Theory predicts that a single diffraction pattern may be recorded from a large macromolecule, a virus or a cell with an ultra-short and extremely bright X-ray pulse before the sample explodes and turns into a plasma. This means that scientists could better understand the structure of macromolecular proteins without crystallizing them and thus allow rapid study of all classes of proteins.
Livermore scientists, along with colleagues at Uppsala University in Sweden, DESY, Technische Universität Berlin, the Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology at UC Davis, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, and private firm Spiller X-ray Optics of Livermore, conducted the first experimental demonstration of this theory.
Computer simulations based on four different models suggest that a near-atomic resolution structure could be achieved by well-thought out choice of pulse length and intensity of X-ray wavelength before the sample is stripped of its electrons and is destroyed. However, up until now, there had been no experimental verification of the technique.
The experimental demonstration of "flash diffractive imaging" uses the first soft X-ray FEL (free electron laser) in the world located at the FLASH facility at DESY. FLASH generates high-power soft X-ray pulses by the principle of self-amplification of spontaneous emission. The pulses are 10 million times brighter than today's brightest X-ray sources, synchrotrons. In addition, this experiment showed that it only takes a 25-femtosecond pulse duration to capture the image.
There has been a question whether the diffraction pattern recorded under these circumstances could be reconstructed to obtain undamaged sample information.
"These results could become a standardized method," Chapman said. "This imaging could be applied at the cellular, sub-cellular and down on to single molecule scale."
Anne Stark | EurekAlert!
Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top
20.04.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
New record on squeezing light to one atom: Atomic Lego guides light below one nanometer
20.04.2018 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy