Soon scientists at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, Ill., will test-drive what many call the Ferrari of synchrotron beamlines high-tech research facilities for imaging molecules. During a dedication ceremony on Monday, June 27, researchers will tour the facilities and watch experimental demonstrations on one of three new beamlines that promise to speed medical research.
Several novel design features that allow for automation, additional research stations, and more refined data will enable researchers to study molecules in greater detail and translate those findings into new medicines, ultimately benefiting basic research and human health. The project is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Synchrotrons generate intense X-ray beams that researchers use to picture the three-dimensional shapes of molecules. However, just a handful of these large-scale facilities exist worldwide. Biologists, biochemists, and other researchers apply for access to about 45 experimental stations in the United States. Many want time at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a DOE user facility at Argonne offering the most powerful X-ray beams in the Western Hemisphere.
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