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Published on Nov 22, 2013
Marc Messerschmidt, a staff scientist at the Coherent X-ray Imaging (CXI) experimental station at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser, describes his daily work, which is far from routine. CXI is home to many X-ray crystallography experiments, which are used to gather structural details from nanoscale crystals that are lit up by ultrabright X-ray pulses. In some cases, Messerschmidt explains, it is possible to reconstruct full molecular models of the crystallized samples based on the collected images.