JAMES KING-HOLMES / OCMS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / OCMS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
X-ray diffraction crystallography. One of a series of screen images showing X-ray diffraction patterns from a crystal of beta lactamase, a protein produced by penicillin-resistant bacteria, which inhibits the action of penicillin in the body. Complex computer programs are used to produce from the images an electron density map of the crystal, which can then be used to determine the molecular structure. The white spots are concentrations of diffracted X-rays, and the diffuse circular pattern is background 'noise' from residual water in the crystal.
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