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X-ray Diffraction

X-ray Diffraction

X-ray scattering is different from X-ray diffraction, which is widely used for X-ray crystallography.

X-ray diffraction through water has been considered too challenging due to the “noise” that that the water would create during the analysis.

Scientists in Korea, Japan and the UK have taken this view as a challenge, and come up with a membrane which provides uniform water coverage across a hydrated cell sample and gives a quality imaging result.

The advantage of this approach for cell imaging is clear: the process of preparing cellular material for x-ray imaging involves freezing or drying, then staining the cells which can significantly affect the sample. Much of x-ray analysis is currently conducted on metals and other more stable materials.

The process uses coherent diffraction imaging (CDI) which gives nanometer-level results, so suspending a sample in water was expected to be a challenge to control enough to produce useful results.

It turns out doubt was no match for scientists who were able to “see” down to 25 nanometers, and the new “wet CDI” approach to sample preparation should yield many new ways to expand the uses of x-ray analysis. In addition to biology and medicine, other areas of application could include petroleum research and investigation of new materials. The technology could also be adapted to three-dimensional imaging and used with other imaging technologies.

X-Ray Diffraction

As reported recently by, the “wet-CDI” technique allows detailed nanoscale imaging of whole, fully hydrated cells in their natural state. Wet-CDI is a dramatic step forward in the science communities attempt to create a complete whole image of cells in their natural state. This new technique could have applications in multiple fields including: biology, medicine, materials science and petroleum research.

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SOURCE :; Nam, D. et al. Imaging fully hydrated whole cells by coherent x-ray diffraction microscopy. Physical Review Letters 110, 098103 (2013).

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