Femtosecond X-ray coherent diffraction of aligned amyloid fibrils on low background grapheme
© 2018 The Author(s). Here we present a new approach to diffraction imaging of amyloid fibrils, combining a free-standing graphene support and single nanofocused X-ray pulses of femtosecond duration from an X-ray free-electron laser. Due to the very low background scattering from the graphene support and mutual alignment of filaments, diffraction from tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) filaments and amyloid protofibrils is obtained to 2.7 Å and 2.4 Å resolution in single diffraction patterns, respectively. Some TMV diffraction patterns exhibit asymmetry that indicates the presence of a limited number of axial rotations in the XFEL focus. Signal-to-noise levels from individual diffraction patterns are enhanced using computational alignment and merging, giving patterns that are superior to those obtainable from synchrotron radiation sources. We anticipate that our approach will be a starting point for further investigations into unsolved structures of filaments and other weakly scattering objects.