Diffraction apparatus and procedure in tomography X-ray diffraction imaging for biological cells at cryogenic temperature using synchrotron X-ray radiation

Amane Kobayashi, Yuki Takayama, Koji Okajima, Mao Oide, Takahiro Yamamoto, Yuki Sekiguchi, Tomotaka Oroguchi, Masayoshi Nakasako, Yoshiki Kohmura, Masaki Yamamoto, Takahiko Hoshi, Yasufumi Torizuka

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1 Citation (Scopus)


X-ray diffraction imaging is a technique for visualizing the structure of biological cells. In X-ray diffraction imaging experiments using synchrotron radiation, cryogenic conditions are necessary in order to reduce radiation damage in the biological cells. Frozen-hydrated biological specimens kept at cryogenic temperatures are also free from drying and bubbling, which occurs in wet specimens under vacuum conditions. In a previous study, the diffraction apparatus KOTOBUKI-1 [Nakasako et al. (2013), Rev. Sci. Instrum. 84, 093705] was constructed for X-ray diffraction imaging at cryogenic temperatures by utilizing a cryogenic pot, which is a cooling device developed in low-temperature physics. In this study a new cryogenic pot, suitable for tomography experiments, has been developed. The pot can rotate a biological cell over an angular range of ±170° against the direction of the incident X-ray beam. Herein, the details and the performance of the pot and miscellaneous devices are reported, along with established experimental procedures including specimen preparation. The apparatus has been used in tomography experiments for visualizing the three-dimensional structure of a Cyanidioschyzon merolae cell with an approximate size of 5 µm at a resolution of 136 nm. Based on the experimental results, the necessary improvements for future experiments and the resolution limit achievable under experimental conditions within a maximum tolerable dose are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Synchrotron Radiation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Jan 1



  • biological cells
  • cryogenic experiments
  • tomography
  • X-ray diffraction imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation

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