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Slow-motion movies of molecular processes?

That’s the promise of Ultrafast Electron Microscopy. What’s it good for? Listen to organic chemist Derek Lowe:

“We’d be able to see catalyst molecules moving and rearranging as they do their work, and watch the shifting environment of metal atoms inside enzyme active sites. Subtle changes in crystal structures, happening too fast for us to follow, would become clear. We could conceivably see cell membranes flex and shift as ligands bind to their embedded receptors, and see processes inside cells that no one has ever been able to observe or even suspected were there.”

It would be, in fact, a Nobel Prize-worthy breakthrough. Among other things, might get us to nanotechnological future even faster by giving us the ability to see how nature accomplishes things that we want our nanomachines to duplicate.

As Spock would say, “Fascinating.”

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