X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) open the possibility of obtaining diffraction information from a single biological macromolecule. This is because XFELs can generate extremely intense x-ray pulses that are so short that diffraction data can be collected before the sample is destroyed. By collecting a sufficient number of single-particle diffraction patterns, the three-dimensional electron density of a molecule can be reconstructed *ab initio*. The quality of the reconstruction depends largely on the number of patterns collected at the experiment. This paper provides an estimate of the number of diffraction patterns required to reconstruct the electron density at a targeted spatial resolution. This estimate is verified by simulations for realistic x-ray fluences, repetition rates, and experimental conditions available at modern XFELs. Employing the bacterial phytochrome as a model system, we demonstrate that sub-nanometer resolution is within reach.

Ultrafast x-ray and electron scattering techniques have proven to be useful for probing the transient elastic lattice deformations associated with photoexcited coherent acoustic phonons. Indeed, femtosecond electron imaging using an ultrafast electron microscope (UEM) has been used to directly image the influence of nanoscale structural and morphological discontinuities on the emergence, propagation, dispersion, and decay behaviors in a variety of materials. Here, we describe our progress toward the development of methods ultimately aimed at quantifying acoustic-phonon properties from real-space UEM images via conventional image simulation methods extended to the associated strain-wave lattice deformation symmetries and extents. Using a model system consisting of pristine single-crystal Ge and a single, symmetric Lamb-type guided-wave mode, we calculate the transient strain profiles excited in a wedge specimen and then apply both kinematical- and dynamical-scattering methods to simulate the resulting UEM bright-field images. While measurable contrast strengths arising from the phonon wavetrains are found for optimally oriented specimens using both approaches, incorporation of dynamical scattering effects via a multi-slice method returns better qualitative agreement with experimental observations. Contrast strengths arising solely from phonon-induced local lattice deformations are increased by nearly an order of magnitude when incorporating multiple electron scattering effects. We also explicitly demonstrate the effects of changes in global specimen orientation on the observed contrast strength, and we discuss the implications for increasing the sophistication of the model with respect to quantification of phonon properties from UEM images.

]]>In our previous work, we explored the dynamics of a dilute suspension of rigid dumbbells as a model for polymeric liquids in large-amplitude oscillatory shear flow, a flow experiment that has gained a significant following in recent years. We chose rigid dumbbells since these are the simplest molecular model to give higher harmonics in the components of the stress response. We derived the expression for the dumbbell orientation distribution, and then we used this function to calculate the shear stress response, and normal stress difference responses in large-amplitude oscillatory shear flow. In this paper, we deepen our understanding of the polymer motion underlying large-amplitude oscillatory shear flow by decomposing the orientation distribution function into its first five Fourier components (the zeroth, first, second, third, and fourth harmonics). We use three-dimensional images to explore each harmonic of the polymer motion. Our analysis includes the three most important cases: (i) nonlinear steady shear flow (where the Deborah number