Method Development

Meanwhile x-ray crystallography has emerged as standard method for structural data generation of biomolecules with atomic resolution. Additionally, imaging methods using x-ray radiation have been developed which are, however, limited in resolution due to limiation of available radiation sources and lense systems for radiation in the x-ray dimension. With the development of novel free electron lasers (XFEL) the method of coherent x-ray imaging is gaining more and more attention within the field of structure determination methods as x-ray impulses in fs-dimensions with 1012 Photons per pulse and with almost complete coherence can be realized. The combination of high radiation intensity and coherence supersede the use of lense systems and might reduce the needed size of the investigated objects to single molecule dimension, thus providing a novel method for recording of three-dimensional molecular movies showing dynamic conformational changes and chemical reactions, especially for molecules with limited crystallization success. In contrast to classical methods of microscopy, the phase problem can be solved computationally by reconstruction of coherent diffraction patterns instead of high quality lense systems.
In cooperation with Prof. Chapman, a pioneer in the field of coherent x-ray imaging, the aim is to create and characterize nanocrystals from different proteins which should be used for optimization of the sample application by liquid jet technologies and for refinement of the detection algorithms. The generation of nanocrystals is a special technical challange that requires novel innovative approaches of crystallization using specific light scattering methods and micropump systems, which are both available in our lab and will support the development of innovative methods in the structural analysis of biomolecules.

Contact person for this project: Dr. Lars Redecke