Quantitative Imaging of Single, Unstained Viruses with Coherent X Rays Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.


  • Song, Changyong
  • Jiang, Huaidong
  • Mancuso, Adrian
  • Amirbekian, Bagrat
  • Peng, Li
  • Sun, Ren
  • Shah, Sanket S
  • Zhou, Z Hong
  • Ishikawa, Tetsuya
  • Miao, Jianwei

publication date

  • October 7, 2008