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Visualizing fast micrometer scale internal movements of small animals is a key challenge for functional anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. We combine phase contrast tomographic microscopy (down to 3.3 μm voxel size) with retrospective, projection-based gating (in the order of hundreds of microseconds) to improve the spatiotemporal resolution by an order of magnitude over previous studies. We demonstrate our method by visualizing 20 three-dimensional snapshots through the 150 Hz oscillations of the blowfly flight motor.

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Animals, Diptera, Four-Dimensional Computed Tomography, Microscopy, Radiation Dosage, Reproducibility of Results, X-Rays