We report the first image of an intact, frozen hydrated eukaryotic cell using x-ray diffraction microscopy, or coherent x-ray diffraction imaging. By plunge freezing the specimen in liquid ethane and maintaining it below -170 degrees C, artifacts due to dehydration, ice crystallization, and radiation damage are greatly reduced. In this example, coherent diffraction data using 520 eV x rays were recorded and reconstructed to reveal a budding yeast cell at a resolution better than 25 nm. This demonstration represents an important step towards high resolution imaging of cells in their natural, hydrated state, without limitations imposed by x-ray optics.
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