Two important recent breakthroughs have been demonstrations of lenseless aberration-free imaging and the ability to out-run radiation damage using femtosecond pulses of illumination. For electron-beams, I’ll discuss prospects for outrunning damage and suggest a fast mode of image formation which provides high resolution despite the use of the large incoherent photocathode. I’ll also review our work using the hard x-ray pulsed laser at SLAC within our BioXFEL 6-campus NSF consortium (http://www.bioxfel.org), aimed at the application of x-ray lasers (XFELs) to biology. I’ll show molecular movies from light-sensitive proteins with 500 fs time resolution and near-atomic spatial resolution important for photosynthesis, using both crystals and solution scattering. I’ll also discuss work in my lab on methods for delivering a stream of hydrated samples across an XFEL or TEM beam (each destroyed, after producing a useful elastic scattering).
Regents' Prof John C.H. Spence FRS is Richard Snell Professor of Physics at Arizona State University where he teaches condensed matter physics. He completed a Ph.D. in physics at Melbourne University in Australia, followed by postdoc at Oxford University's materials department. His group undertakes research in diffraction physics and new microscopies for materials science and biology. See https://live-spence.ws.asu.edu. He is a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, the author of texts on electron microscopy, and was recently awarded the Buerger Medal of ACA, the Cowley Medal of IFSM and the Distinguished Scientist Medal of MSA. He is currently director of science for the NSF’s BioXFEL Science and Technology Center, devoted to the application of X-ray lasers to structural and dynamic molecular biology. John is a Fellow the AAAS, APS, IOP and MSA, an overseas Fellow of Churchill College, and main editor of IUCrJ.