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Experimental 3D Coherent Diffractive Imaging from photon-sparse random projections

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posted on 2023-11-29, 05:05 authored by K. Giewekemeyer, A. Aquila, N. D. Loh, Y. Chushkin, K. S. Shanks, J. Weiss, M. W. Tate, H. T. Philipp, S. Stern, P. Vagovic, M. Mehrjoo, C. Teo, M. Barthelmess, F. Zontone, C. Chang, R. C. Tiberio, A. Sakdinawat, G. J. Williams, S. M. Gruner, A. P. Mancuso
The routine atomic-resolution structure determination of single particles is expected to have profound implications for probing the structure-function relationship in systems ranging from energy materials to biological molecules. Extremely-bright, ultrashort-pulse X-ray sources---X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs)---provide X-rays that can be used to probe ensembles of nearly identical nano-scale particles. When combined with coherent diffractive imaging, these objects can be imaged; however, as the resolution of the images approaches the atomic scale, the measured data are increasingly difficult to obtain and, during an X-ray pulse, the number of photons incident on the two-dimensional detector is much smaller than the number of pixels. This latter concern, the signal "sparsity," materially impedes the application of the method. We demonstrate an experimental analog using a synchrotron X-ray source that yields signal levels comparable to those expected from single biomolecules illuminated by focused XFEL pulses. The analog experiment provides an invaluable cross-check on the fidelity of the reconstructed data that is not available during XFEL experiments. We establish---using this experimental data---that a sparsity of order $1.3\times10^{-3}$ photons per pixel per frame can be overcome, lending vital insight to the solution of the atomic-resolution XFEL single particle imaging problem by experimentally demonstrating 3D coherent diffractive imaging from photon-sparse random projections.

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