Understanding the functions of proteins often requires knowing their 3-D structures. But deciphering a protein’s structure is a time-consuming and difficult task, typically requiring crystallizing the proteins and bombarding them with x-rays. What’s more, scientists have not been able to crystallize thousands of proteins, so their structures remain unknown.
A far better option would be an analytic method that allowed biologists to directly determine protein structures. Conventional MRI can make out features down to three micrometers. Now IBM researchers demonstrate a resolution of 90 nanometers, a milestone toward their eventual goal of imaging individual protein molecules, which are roughly three to ten nanometers in size.
Read the article at Technology Review site.