Breakthrough in chemical crystallography

April 5, 2013

A research team led by Professor Makoto Fujita of the University of Tokyo, Japan, and complemented by Academy Professor Kari Rissanen of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, has made a fundamental breakthrough in single-crystal X-ray analysis, the most powerful method for molecular structure determination. The team's breakthrough was reported in Nature on March 28, 2013.

X-ray single-crystal diffraction (SCD) analysis has the intrinsic limitation that the target molecule must be obtained as single crystals. Now, Professor Fujita's team at the University of Tokyo together with Academy Professor Rissanen at the University of Jyväskylä have established a new protocol for SCD analysis that does not require the of the target molecule. In this method, a very small crystal of a porous complex absorbs the target molecule from the solution, enabling the crystallographic analysis of the structure of the absorbed guest along with the host framework.

As the SCD analysis is carried out with only one crystal, smaller than 0.1 x 0.1 x 0.1 mm in size, the required amount of the can be as low as 80 ng. Fujita's and Rissanen's work reports the structure determination of a scarce marine natural product from only 5 µg of it. Many natural and for which have almost given up the hope of analysing crystallographically can now be easily and precisely characterised by this method.

Explore further: Residual dipolar couplings unveil structure of small molecules

More information: Nature 495, pp. 461–466 (28 March 2013), DOI:10.1038/nature11990

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not rated yet Apr 05, 2013
Wow! Very clever, drape or bind individual molecules on a reference scaffold take your image and subtract the reference.

My foresight sucks, this is embarrassingly obvious.

Still, I suspect it will need a brighter light source and much more compute resources.

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