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Exploding water jet in X-ray beam

X-ray laser sheds light on ultrafast processes in physics, biology and material sciences

05-Jan-2021

An interdisciplinary team of scientists has used ultrashort X-ray pulses to image extremely rapidly exploding jets of water. The experiments, carried out at the European X-ray laser facility European XFEL, aim to study ultrafast events that occur in a very small region by means of X-ray ...

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Supermicroscope for Protein Crystals

Combination of techniques locates microcrystals for structural analysis

26-Nov-2020

A novel kind of microscope is able to detect tiny protein crystals, which are beyond the imaging power of even modern light microscopes. The innovative technique relies on various non-linear optical effects to image even nanocrystals, which are increasingly being used for protein structure ...

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How deadly parasites ‘glide’ into human cells


X-ray analysis reveals structure of molecular machinery of malaria and toxoplasmosis pathogens

03-Nov-2020

An investigation at DESY's X-ray source PETRA III provides new insights into the molecular machinery by which certain parasites travel through the human organism. The study, led by Christian Löw from the Hamburg branch of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory EMBL, analyzed the so-called ...

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Searching for the chemistry of life

Study shows possible new way to create DNA base pairs

06-Oct-2020

In the search for the chemical origins of life, researchers have found a possible alternative path for the emergence of the characteristic DNA pattern: According to the experiments, the characteristic DNA base pairs can form by dry heating, without water or other solvents. The team led by Ivan ...

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Liquid water at 170 degrees Celsius

X-ray laser reveals anomalous dynamics at ultra-fast heating

18-Sep-2020

Using the X-ray laser European XFEL, a research team has investigated how water heats up under extreme conditions. In the process, the scientists were able to observe water that remained liquid even at temperatures of more than 170 degrees Celsius. The investigation revealed an anomalous dynamic ...

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Two colour technique reveals how X-ray lasers damage biomolecules

Step to a fuller understanding of how X-ray flashes modify the structure of proteins

03-Jun-2020

X-ray lasers can reveal the spatial structures of biomolecules that are hard to come by with other methods. However, the intense X-ray flashes vaporise the samples almost immediately. An international team of scientists has now followed how this radiation damage spreads in biomolecules to ...

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X-rays show birth of semiconductor for blue LEDs

Gallium nitride is the second most important semiconductor material after silicon

28-Feb-2020

Using a special pressure furnace, an international team of researchers has analysed the initial stages of the growth of the semiconductor gallium nitride with X-ray light. The observations show for the first time the atomic structure of the interface of the semiconductor material with liquid ...

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Research team finds possible new approach for sleeping sickness drugs

X-ray laser reveals structure of a key enzyme of the parasite Trypanosoma brucei

04-Feb-2020

Using ultra-bright X-ray flashes, a team of researchers has tracked down a potential target for new drugs against sleeping sickness: The scientists have decoded the detailed spatial structure of a vital enzyme of the pathogen, the parasite Trypanosoma brucei. The result provides a possible ...

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Ultrafast birth of free radicals observed in water

X-ray laser provides unrivalled insight into the first chemical reaction during radiolysis

13-Jan-2020

Using extremely short X-ray flashes, an international team of researchers has for the first time ever observed details of the ultrafast chemical reaction leading to the formation of aggressive radicals when water is irradiated. The study provides unprecedented insights into the process, which can ...

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Using corkscrew lasers to separate mirror molecules

Innovative approach could deepen insight into the mysterious handedness of life

13-Dec-2019

Many of the molecular building blocks of life have two versions that are mirror images of one another, known as enantiomers. Although seemingly identical, the two enantiomers can have completely different chemical behaviour – a fact that has major implications in our day-to-day lives. For ...

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