Single-shot femtosecond x-ray diffraction from randomly oriented ellipsoidal nanoparticles

M. J. Bogan, S. Boutet, A. Barty, W. H. Benner, Matthias Frank, L. Lomb, R. Shoeman, D. Starodub, M. M. Seibert, S. P. Hau-Riege, B. Woods, P. Decorwin-Martin, S. Bajt, J. Schulz, U. Rohner, B. Iwan, N. Timneanu, S. Marchesini, I. Schlichting, J. HajduH. N. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Coherent diffractive imaging of single particles using the single-shot "diffract and destroy" approach with an x-ray free electron laser (FEL) was recently demonstrated. A high-resolution low-noise coherent diffraction pattern, representative of the object before it turns into a plasma and explodes, results from the interaction of the FEL with the particle. Iterative phase retrieval algorithms are used to reconstruct two-dimensional projection images of the object from the recorded intensities alone. Here we describe the first single-shot diffraction data set that mimics the data proposed for obtaining 3D structure from identical particles. Ellipsoidal iron oxide nanoparticles (250nm×50nm) were aerosolized and injected through an aerodynamic lens stack into a soft x-ray FEL. Particle orientation was not controlled with this injection method. We observed that, at the instant the x-ray pulse interacts with the particle, a snapshot of the particle's orientation is encoded in the diffraction pattern. The results give credence to one of the technical concepts of imaging individual nanometer and subnanometer-sized objects such as single molecules or larger clusters of molecules using hard x-ray FELs and will be used to help develop robust algorithms for determining particle orientations and 3D structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number094701
JournalPhysical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 8 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


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