As the name implies, crystallography requires crystals – specifically, purified samples of the molecule of interest, coaxed into a crystal form. But most molecules form powders composed of jumbled granules, not picture-ready crystals. A new computer algorithm, combined with a state-of-the-art laser, can adapt X-ray crystallography for the many not-so-neat-and-tidy compounds that scientists seek to study.
Photosynthesis – the enzyme-based process of converting carbon dioxide into food, using water and sunlight – is literally the foundation of life on Earth, and understanding the reaction at an atomic level could lead to vast production of renewable fuels made from greenhouse gases sucked out of the air. A Berkeley Lab team has been uncovering precise, step-by-step details of photosynthesis for years. We spoke to two members, co-lead author and senior scientist Vittal Yachandra and co-first author and postdoctoral researcher Philipp Simon, about their latest study, shooting stuff with lasers, and why they chose this field.
Researchers develop an efficient method for studying fast biochemical reactions as they happen in real time
A new, compact system has been successfully demonstrated at the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center to provide simultaneous high-resolution measurements of multiple electron-beam properties.
Scientists have determined the structure of a unique enzyme, produced by a species of methane-eating bacteria, that converts the greenhouse gas into methanol – a highly versatile liquid fuel and industrial product ingredient.