Making molecular movies
Molecular movies of photosynthesis and other biological reactions may provide insights for inexpensive renewable energy sources and new drug therapies.
A still from the first movie of photosynthesis. The imaging technique captures ultrafast reactions.
Credit and Larger Version
May 10, 2018
Using a high-powered X-ray laser and specially designed crystals, NSF-funded researchers have made the first movie of photosynthesis, the live-giving process that converts sunlight into chemical energy. A better understanding of how this process occurs could provide new insights to engineer clean, inexpensive, scalable, renewable energy alternatives.
Supported by an NSF award to the Center for Biology with X-ray Free Electron Lasers, the researchers also create movies of high-speed molecular movements that determine how medicines affect diseased cells. The movies are a powerful new tool to capture biological reactions since protein movements occur on a scale far too small and too fast for conventional microscopes to image.
Directorate for Biological Sciences
Office of Integrative Activities
#1231306 Biology with X-ray Lasers