An international team of researchers has used the world’s most powerful X-ray laser to take snapshots of free molecules. The research team choreographed a kind of molecular ballet in the X-ray beam. The conventional way to determine the atomic structure of molecules is to “freeze” them in a crystal and illuminate them with bright X-rays. However, many molecules are extremely difficult to crystallize. In particular, this is a problem with many biomolecules. There are existing techniques to image single molecules, but none of these is fast enough to catch the ultra-fast motion of molecules. With their new work, the researchers have cleared important hurdles on the way to X-ray images of individual molecules.
from Physics News — ScienceDaily http://ift.tt/1d44vRv