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Coherent X-ray Diffraction from Collagenous Soft Tissues

Felisa Berenguer de la Cuesta, Marco P. E. Wenger, Richard J. Bean, Laurent Bozec, Michael A. Horton, Ian K. Robinson and Douglas C. Rees
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 106, No. 36 (Sep. 8, 2009), pp. 15297-15301
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40484706
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Coherent X-ray Diffraction from Collagenous Soft Tissues
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Abstract

Coherent X-ray diffraction has been applied in the imaging of inorganic materials with great success. However, its application to biological specimens has been limited to some notable exceptions, due to the induced radiation damage and the extended nature of biological samples, the last limiting the application of most part of the phasing algorithms. X-ray ptychography, still under development, is a good candidate to overcome such difficulties and become a powerful imaging method for biology. We describe herein the feasibility of applying ptychography to the imaging of biological specimens, in particular collagen rich samples. We report here speckles in diffraction patterns from soft animal tissue, obtained with an optimized small angle X-ray setup that exploits the natural coherence of the beam. By phasing these patterns, dark field images of collagen within tendon, skin, bone, or cornea will eventually be obtained with a resolution of 60-70 nm. We present simulations of the contrast mechanism in collagen based on atomic force microscope images of the samples. Simulations confirmed the 'speckled' nature of the obtained diffraction patterns. Once inverted, the patterns will show the disposition and orientation of the fibers within the tissue, by enhancing the phase contrast between protein and no protein regions of the sample. Our work affords the application of the most innovative coherent X-ray diffraction tools to the study of biological specimens, and this approach will have a significant impact in biology and medicine because it overcomes many of the limits of current microscopy techniques.

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