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2012 Runner-Up: X-ray Laser Crystallography

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For the first time, scientists determined the structure of a protein using an x-ray laser—even as the laser blasted tiny crystals of the stuff to bits. Powered by linear accelerators, x-ray lasers can work with crystals too small to be studied with synchrotons, paving the way toward eventually zapping individual molecules. In this video, Science News Writer Adrian Cho explains the implications of this laser technique.

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