Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New X-ray sources speed protein crystallography

17.02.2004


Thirty years ago the determination of a protein structure required years of effort and typically was sufficient for a Ph.D. thesis. Today, due to advances in synchrotron X-ray sources and detectors, protein crystal structures can be calculated in just hours, "enabling many types of studies that were previously inconceivable," according to a leading researcher at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.



Sol Gruner, a Cornell physics professor and an expert in designing and building fast, large-area X-ray imaging detectors, says that high-powered synchrotron X-ray sources and advanced detectors have been largely responsible for the progress in calculating protein structures. "The biotechnological revolution of the last two decades is built upon the twin pillars of protein structure determination and genetic engineering," he says.

Indeed, says Gruner, "Synchrotron X-radiation has become an enormously powerful tool throughout science and technology."


Gruner presented an overview of these advances today (Feb. 16) in a talk, "Future X-ray Sources and Detector Technologies," at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle. His talk was part of a symposium, "Synchrotron Radiation as a Frontier Multidisciplinary Scientific Tool," organized by Ernest Fontes, assistant director of the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), Doon Gibbs of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Keith Hodgson of Stanford University/Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC).

Synchrotron radiation is emitted when highly energetic electrons are deflected by magnetic fields. All existing synchrotron X-ray facilities are based on an accelerator physics technology called the storage ring. In such a ring, bunches of electrons are kept in a roughly circular orbit by magnetic deflecting and focusing structures. At Cornell, the National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR) is the X-ray source for CHESS. Usage of synchrotron radiation has grown steadily over the past three decades as synchrotron source, X-ray optics and detector technology have steadily advanced. Gruner, who is director of CHESS, explained how novel technologies now being developed will couple with developing semiconductor X-ray detectors to open new avenues of scientific exploration.

One such new technology, which promises to remove many of the present limitations of existing storage ring X-ray sources, is based on the use of a superconducting linear accelerator (or linac) to continuously accelerate and recover the energy from an electron beam. This device, called an Energy Recovery Linac (ERL), will be able to produce X-ray beams of unprecedented brilliance and small size. Gruner is the principal investigator on a proposal to the NSF to build an ERL prototype, based on collaborative designs between Cornell and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Newport News, Va.

Another future source technology, also based on linacs, is the X-ray Free Electron Laser, or XFEL. An XFEL is slated for construction at SLAC. ERL and XFEL sources, when combined with evolving solid-state X-ray detectors, Gruner said, will allow scientists to examine the structure of matter in ways previously impossible.

"This is a historically opportune time to acknowledge and celebrate the multidisciplinary nature of synchrotron radiation and discuss, in open forum, our collective views and needs for future outstanding X-ray facilities," Gruner noted.

David Brand | Cornell News
Further information:
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Feb04/AAAS.Gruner.deb.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

nachricht Magnetic moment of a single antiproton determined with greatest precision ever
19.01.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>