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The imaging of living specimens in water by x-ray microscopy can be greatly enhanced with the use of an intense flash x-ray source and sophisticated technologies for reading x-ray images. A subnanosecond [corrected] x-ray pulse from a laser-produced plasma was used to record the x-ray image of living sea urchin sperm in an x-ray resist. The resist relief was visualized at high resolution by atomic-force microscopy. Internal structure of the sperm head was evident, and the carbon density in a flagellum was estimated from the relief height.

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