High-resolution imaging offers one of the most promising approaches for exploring and understanding the structure and function of biomaterials and biological systems. X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) combined with coherent diffraction imaging can theoretically provide high-resolution spatial information regarding biological materials using a single XFEL pulse. Currently, the application of this method suffers from the low scattering cross-section of biomaterials and X-ray damage to the sample. However, XFELs can provide pulses of such short duration that the data can be collected using the "diffract and destroy" approach before the effects of radiation damage on the data become significant. These experiments combine the use of enhanced coherent diffraction imaging with single-shot XFEL radiation to investigate the cellular architecture of Staphylococcus aureus with and without labeling by gold (Au) nanoclusters. The resolution of the images reconstructed from these diffraction patterns were twice as high or more for gold-labeled samples, demonstrating that this enhancement method provides a promising approach for the high-resolution imaging of biomaterials and biological systems.
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