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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Oct 10;101(15):158101. Epub 2008 Oct 7.

Quantitative imaging of single, unstained viruses with coherent x rays.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


We report the recording and reconstruction of x-ray diffraction patterns from single, unstained viruses, for the first time. By separating the diffraction pattern of the virus particles from that of their surroundings, we performed quantitative and high-contrast imaging of a single virion. The structure of the viral capsid inside a virion was visualized. This work opens the door for quantitative x-ray imaging of a broad range of specimens from protein machineries and viruses to cellular organelles. Moreover, our experiment is directly transferable to the use of x-ray free electron lasers, and represents an experimental milestone towards the x-ray imaging of large protein complexes.

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