Research News

Chemistry: Analyzing Molecular Structure With Astronomical Speed

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Science  23 Feb 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5252, pp. 1060
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5252.1060


X-ray crystallography has met the 1-hour photo shop. The technique used to take days or weeks to determine atomic identities and relationships in a reasonably sized molecule. But now there's a new generation of x-ray diffractometers with a difference: a chip called a charge-coupled device (CCD), whose two-dimensional array of pixels—each acting as an independent detector—allows hundreds of x-ray reflections to be gathered at once. The results: structure analysis in just a few hours.