Figure 1 (image) Arizona State University Share Print E-Mail Caption Graphic shows the basic design of an X-ray free electron laser or XFEL, in which brilliant X-ray bursts strike crystallized samples, causing diffraction patterns that can be reassembled into detailed images. X-rays damage biomolecules, a problem that has plagued structure determination efforts for decades. But the X-ray bursts produced by an XFEL are so short--lasting mere femtoseconds--that X-ray scattering from a molecule can be recorded before destruction takes place, akin to using a fast camera shutter. (A femtosecond is a millionth of a billionth of a second, the same ratio as a second is to 32 million years.) Credit Graphic: Shireen Dooling for the Biodesign Institute at ASU Usage Restrictions None Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.