Courtesy of Lyncean Technologies

Advanced synchrotron radiation sources have revolutionized structural biology, allowing X-ray crystallographers to solve complex macromolecular structures. But as few of these soccer field-sized facilities exist worldwide, researchers have only limited access to them. Now researcher Ronald Ruth at the Stanford University Linear Accelerator Center has designed and is currently building a new desktop-sized synchrotron source called the Compact Light Source (CLS) that could permit universities and corporations to set up their own structural biology facilities. "Assuming it takes off, it is really going to change the way people are doing their X-ray crystallography research at home," says Bill Weis, professor of structural biology, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Conventional synchrotrons use large magnetic rings (roughly 305 m in diameter) to store high-energy electron beams. Undulating magnetic fields bend or "wiggle" the beams to produce X-ray radiation whose wavelength is proportional to the period of the magnets...

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