Uwe Weierstall - "Bio-imaging at the LCLS"

February 2, 2012

Event Series: 
SLAC Colloquia
Event Scientific Area: 
Photon Science
Event Organization: 
SLAC events
Event Date: 
Monday, February 6, 2012 - 3:45p.m. - 5:30p.m.

Feb. 6 SLAC Colloquium: "Bio-imaging at the LCLS"

Speaker: Research Prof. Uwe Weierstall, Arizona State University

Abstract: The LCLS, the first hard X-ray femtosecond laser, opens up new and exciting opportunities for biological structure determination. X-ray crystallography provides so far the vast majority of macromolecular structures, but the success of the method relies on growing crystals of sufficient size. It has been proposed that femtosecond X-ray pulses can be used to outrun damage processes by using single pulses so brief that they terminate before the manifestation of damage to the sample. The high intensity femtosecond X-ray pulses generated at the LCLS allow using nanocrystals or even single particles for biological structure determination. During biological imaging beamtimes at the LCLS we have collected millions of snapshot diffraction patterns from protein nanocrystals and single virus particles. It has been confirmed experimentally that the femtosecond X-ray pulses terminate before radiation damage begins. New methods for injecting biomolecules and nanocrystals into the X-ray beam as well as new data analysis algorithms had to be developed. The experiments and their challenges will be described.


PhD in Physics at Universität Tübingen in Germany  in 1994, worked on Electron holography of biological samples. Became postdoc at the Department of Physics at Arizona State University.

Research Scientist at ASU from 1998 to 2008.  Worked on developing instrumentation and methods for scanning tunneling microscopy, electron diffraction and imaging and X-ray coherent diffraction imaging. Did preliminary experiments with protein nanocrystals in liquid jets at the ALS in Berkeley.

Research Professor at ASU since 2008.