The study of molecules with X-rays is of particular interest for biological and potentially pharmaceutical sciences. X-rays are here being used to resolve the shape or structure of a molecule. But when the X-rays interact with the molecules, the ionize the atoms the molecule consists of and the molecule is transformed into a nanoplasma. Such radiation damage is of particular interest, as a solid understanding of the underlying damaging processes is required to lead to high-res imaging. In the linked study that has been published in Nature, we investigate molecules using intense hard X-rays from the CXI instrument at LCLS reaching a never before seen level of ionization. The insights of this study help developing high-resolution imaging of bio molecules.
Image from: DESY/Science Communication Lab