September 28, 2010

New X-Ray Technique Could Lead to Countless Discoveries

by Heather Falconer

In the 1950s, it was Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling’s X-ray Diffraction (XRD) technique that allowed Watson, Crick and Wilkins to see the true shape of DNA. In fact, without the photographs produced by the two, it might have taken many more years before the true structure of DNA was revealed. Now, a new X-ray technique has been revealed that takes things even further.

Useful only for non-living samples because of the high concentrations of radiation, the X-rays scatter slightly and present a 3D image of the material. The accuracy is such that it allows researchers to see nano-sized details, “such as hidey-holes for bone cells and connecting channels between those pockets.” As the researchers note, it’s expected that “this high-resolution tomography technique [will] provide invaluable information for both the life and materials sciences.”

from the article published in Nature, the images show the quality and level of detail possible.
Heather Falconer

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Heather Falconer holds undergraduate degrees in Graphic Arts and Environmental Science, as well as an MFA in Writing and an MLitt in Literature. She is currently completing her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition, with an emphasis on rhetoric in/and/of science. Heather has worked internationally in academic publishing as both an author and editor, and has taught a wide range of topics – from research writing to marine biology – in the public and private educational sectors.