Reconstruction from a single diffraction pattern of azimuthally projected electron density of molecules aligned parallel to a single axis

D. K. Saldin, V. L. Shneerson, D. Starodub, John Spence

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Diffraction from the individual molecules of a molecular beam, aligned parallel to a single axis by a strong electric field or other means, has been proposed as a means of structure determination of individual molecules. As in fiber diffraction, all the information extractable is contained in a diffraction pattern from incidence of the diffracting beam normal to the molecular alignment axis. The limited size of the object results in continuous diffraction patterns characterized by neither Bragg spots nor layer lines. Equations relating the scattered amplitudes to the molecular electron density may be conveniently formulated in terms of cylindrical harmonics. For simulated diffraction patterns from short C nanotubes aligned along their axes, iterative solution of the equation for the zeroth-order cylindrical harmonic and its inverse with appropriate constraints in real and reciprocal space enables the phasing of the measured amplitudes, and hence a reconstruction of the azimuthal projection of the molecule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-37
Number of pages6
JournalActa Crystallographica Section A: Foundations of Crystallography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 11 2010



  • Fiber diffraction
  • Isolated single molecule
  • Molecular alignment
  • Phasing algorithm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology

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