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Shark Hardware Science

X-ray Generator Fits In the Palm of Your Hand 32

ananyo writes "Scientists have reported the first tabletop source of ultra-short, laser-like pulses of low energy, or 'soft,' X-rays. The light, capable of probing the structure and dynamics of molecules (abstract), was previously available only at large, billion-dollar national facilities such as synchrotrons or free-electron lasers, where competition for use of the equipment is fierce. The new device, by husband-and-wife team Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn based at JILA in Boulder, Colorado, might soon lie within the grasp of a university laboratory budget — perhaps allowing them to one day be as common in labs as electron microscopes are."
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X-ray Generator Fits In the Palm of Your Hand

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  • How time flies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:44AM (#40267945)

    perhaps allowing them to one day be as common in labs as electron microscopes are.

    And back in my day, electron microscopes were big-ticket gear that only a few big labs could afford.
    Now, get off of my lawn!

  • Re:Proteome (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Naffer ( 720686 ) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:51AM (#40268629) Journal
    Not to mention that home X-ray sources have improved dramatically over the last few decades. I think if you've got enough cash Rigaku or Bruker will sell you single or dual wavelength rotating anode sources that would be totally fine for routine protein x-ray crystallography on nicely diffracting samples. Not all protein crystallography needs a synchrotron, since a lot of times people are just doing ligand soaks to try to find small molecule binding modes in protein active sites.
  • by Btrot69 ( 1479283 ) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:49PM (#40271913)

    This is a fully coherent laser -- not just an X-ray source. So, you would not be scattering photons the way crystallography is done -- you would be taking holographic photos of the protein molecules.
    And yes, these are soft X-rays now -- but this is and brand new technique, and it appears to be very scaleable. Hard X-rays might not be too far off.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy