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  1. The physics and chemistry of liquid solutions play a central role in science, and our understanding of life on Earth. Unfortunately, key tools for interrogating aqueous systems, such as infrared and soft X-ray spectroscopy, cannot readily be applied because of strong absorption in water. Here we use gas-dynamic forces to generate free-flowing, sub-micron, liquid sheets which are two orders of magnitude thinner than anything previously reported. Optical, infrared, and X-ray spectroscopies are used to characterize the sheets, which are found to be tunable in thickness from over 1 μm down to less than 20 nm, which corresponds to fewer thanmore » 100 water molecules thick. At this thickness, aqueous sheets can readily transmit photons across the spectrum, leading to potentially transformative applications in infrared, X-ray, electron spectroscopies and beyond. Lastly, the ultrathin sheets are stable for days in vacuum, and we demonstrate their use at free-electron laser and synchrotron light sources.« less
  2. Dose-dependent damage to a Mn iii complex in solution, induced by soft X-rays, is investigated with Mn L-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy.
  3. X-ray crystallography at X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) sources is a powerful method for studying macromolecules at biologically relevant temperatures. Moreover, when combined with complementary techniques like X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES), both global structures and chemical properties of metalloenzymes can be obtained concurrently, providing new insights into the interplay between the protein structure/dynamics and chemistry at an active site. However, implementing such a multimodal approach can be compromised by conflicting requirements to optimize each individual method. In particular, the method used for sample delivery greatly impacts the data quality. We present here a new, robust way of delivering controlled sample amountsmore » on demand using acoustic droplet ejection coupled with a conveyor belt drive that is optimized for crystallography and spectroscopy measurements of photochemical and chemical reactions over a wide range of time scales. Studies with photosystem II, the phytochrome photoreceptor, and ribonucleotide reductase R2 illustrate the power and versatility of this method.« less
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