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The imaging of hydrated biological samples - especially in the energy window of 284-540 eV, where water does not obscure the signal of soft organic matter and biologically relevant elements - is of tremendous interest for life sciences. Free-electron lasers can provide highly intense and coherent pulses, which allow single pulse imaging to overcome resolution limits set by radiation damage. One current challenge is to match both the desired energy and the intensity of the light source. We present the first images of dehydrated biological material acquired with 3rd harmonic radiation from FLASH by digital in-line zone plate holography as one step towards the vision of imaging hydrated biological material with photons in the water window. We also demonstrate the first application of ultrathin molecular sheets as suitable substrates for future free-electron laser experiments with biological samples in the form of a rat fibroblast cell and marine biofouling bacteria Cobetia marina.




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