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Sunshine Monomer and the X-ray Sidestep

Sunny faceA simpler, gentler eye test based on Raman spectroscopy could spot ocular infection and other problems without irritating patients, although they may be required to yawn during the procedure. Whichever way you look at them, whether through the emotional blur of crying or as lachrymal secretions ripe for analysis, tears are complex. Now, researchers in the UK, have taken a close look at this aqueous solution of proteins, metabolites, electrolytes and lipids using Raman spectroscopy and obtained results that would make any ocular enthusiast cry with joy. Read more about this today in a sneak preview of my SpectroscopyNOW column for June 1.

Also in the June 1 issue – Sunshine monomer – Australian researchers have built a model of the skin pigment that protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays, that could help explain how the pigment can absorb and dissipate the energy of 99.9% of solar UV. Meanwhile crystallographers in the USA may have found a way to side-step one of the most frustrating steps in obtaining a molecular structure using X-ray diffraction, the crystallisation process itself. Instead, they’re using lasers to align molecules in the gas phase so that they can get Bragg-like diffraction pattern with pulses of high-energy synchrotron X-rays. The work could open up protein science in an entirely unprecedented way allowing proteins that cannot be crystallised to be studied with atom-by-atom detail. More on that, here.

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