New CT scan technique can detect small molecules’ shapes

A group of researchers has developed a new CT scan-like technique that is capable of detecting the shapes of very small organic molecules.

Previously, x-rays were used to do this, but it was a slow process as the molecules needed to be in a large crystal formation for the x-rays to detect them.

This new technique, however, does not require the molecules to be in a crystal form, cutting down the time to determine a molecule’s shape significantly.

The technique relies on electron diffraction, which is an approach previously used to study the shapes of larger molecules like proteins.

A beam is sent through a crystal, which can then determine its structure from diffraction patterns – much like an x-ray approach.

This approach can speed up the process of determining chemical structures of potential new drugs, allowing compounds with crystals too small for x-ray to be detected.

Drug discoveries can significantly accelerate – bringing out more effective medicines – and this technique may even have prospective applications in crime labs to more easily identify narcotic strains.

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New CT scan technique can detect small molecules’ shapes