X-ray mosaic nanotomography of large microorganisms
Full-field X-ray microscopy is a valuable tool for 3D observation of biological systems. In the soft X-ray domain organelles can be visualized in individual cells while hard X-ray microscopes excel in imaging of larger complex biological tissue. The field of view of these instruments is typically 10(3) times the spatial resolution. We exploit the assets of the hard X-ray sub-micrometer imaging and extend the standard approach by widening the effective field of view to match the size of the sample. We show that global tomography of biological systems exceeding several times the field of view is feasible also at the nanoscale with moderate radiation dose. We address the performance issues and limitations of the TOMCAT full-field microscope and more generally for Zernike phase contrast imaging. Two biologically relevant systems were investigated. The first being the largest known bacteria (Thiomargarita namibiensis), the second is a small myriapod species (Pauropoda sp.). Both examples illustrate the capacity of the unique, structured condenser based broad-band full-field microscope to access the 3D structural details of biological systems at the nanoscale while avoiding complicated sample preparation, or even keeping the sample environment close to the natural state.