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Structure-ID Technique Could Shift Chemistry to Warp Speed

Scientists have successfully determined high-resolution structures of several small molecules using a technique called MicroED.

The chemical structure of progesterone
The chemical structure of progesterone, Credit: Rhododendronbusch, [public domain]

Work that previously could have taken chemists months can now be done in minutes.

Using a technique called microcrystal electron diffraction, or MicroED, scientists need just 30 minutes and a miniscule amount of sample to identify small molecules and determine their structures. Such easy access to highly detailed information could revolutionize the way chemists, forensic scientists, and those involved in drug discovery work, says Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator Tamir Gonen.

“Now chemists can actually take powders directly from a reaction, apply them to a sample grid, and get high-resolution molecular structures the same day.”

Read more about this exciting work, described in the journal ACS Central Science on Nov. 2, 2018.

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