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 SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

nachricht New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot
26.04.2017 | Royal Astronomical Society

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>