New X-Ray Vision for Chemists

A new technique reveals the molecular structure of hard-to-study compounds.

Determining a molecule’s 3-D structure — important for drug development, forensic science and food production, among other fields — has never been easy. A popular method is a technique known as X-ray crystallography: Compounds are placed in a solution that promotes crystal growth. A single crystal is isolated and bombarded with X-rays, and the resulting patterns of diffraction are analyzed for clues about the molecule’s architecture. Some substances resist crystallization, but a technique introduced in March may help chemists map their dimensions as well.

The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:
  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!
Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on DiscoverMagazine.com, please log in.

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar

Log in to your account

Email address:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it emailed to you.

Not registered yet?

Register now for FREE. It takes only a few seconds to complete. Register now »