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Neutrons for biologists: a beginner's guide, or why you should consider using neutrons

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jeremy LakeyORCiD


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From the structures of isolated protein complexes to the molecular dynamics of whole cells, neutron methods can achieve a resolution in complex systems that is inaccessible to other techniques. Biology is fortunate in that it is rich in water and hydrogen, and this allows us to exploit the differential sensitivity of neutrons to this element and its major isotope, deuterium. Furthermore, neutrons exhibit wave properties that allow us to use them in similar ways to light, X-rays and electrons. This review aims to explain the basics of biological neutron science to encourage its greater use in solving difficult problems in the life sciences.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lakey JH

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the Royal Society Interface

Year: 2009

Volume: 6

Pages: S567-S573

ISSN (print): 1742-5689

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: ROYAL SOC


DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2009.0156.focus