Three-dimensional protein structures change when proteins works, but observation with conventional X-ray crystal structure analysis is difficult due to radiation damage during measurement. RIKEN’s XFEL (x-ray free electron laser) is not only bright but also has a short emission time of less than 10 femtoseconds. Bacteriorhodopsin microcrystals were continuously ejected with high accuracy in space and time, 13 measurements were taken from nanoseconds to milliseconds, and structural changes were observed using frame-advance photography at a spatial resolution structure of 2.1 Å.

RIKEN news release, December 23, 2016