Research Topic

Advances in the Structural Characterization of Biomolecules and Nanomaterials by X-Ray Techniques

About this Research Topic

Investigating the 3D structure of matter at atomic resolution is crucial to understanding and utilizing biomolecules, nanomaterials, and biomolecule/nanosystem interfaces. Deep explanation and reliable prediction of the properties of these systems is only possible with thorough structural knowledge.

In recent years, there have been many advances in structural characterization methods and techniques. The advent of next-generation X-ray sources, faster and increasingly sensitive detectors, and multi-probe experimental setups, open the possibility for deeper static and dynamic crystallographic investigations. Conformational dynamics at the picosecond scale can now be monitored using X-ray free electron laser facilities. There have also been significant advances in both data quality and resolution of X-ray imaging. Techniques such as small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) can supply complementary structural characterization of nanomaterials in the solid state, and of protein conformations and protein-protein interactions in solution, whilst X-ray spectroscopy (XRS) can be used to effectively investigate the coordination and oxidation state of metal centers in proteins and nanomaterials.

This Research Topic aims to cover advancements in computational and experimental techniques aiming at investigating the structural properties of biomolecules and nanomaterials. A special focus will be given to cases showing an integrative approach to structural analysis, where structural investigations exploit complementary application of different computational and/or experimental techniques.

Original Research and Review manuscripts on the following aspects are welcome:

 • Advances in methods and techniques for high-resolution crystal structure determination by X-ray diffraction
 • Structural dynamics investigations of biomolecules using X-ray free electron lasers
 • State-of-the-art structural characterization in difficult cases: flexible proteins, bad diffracting crystals, low crystalline powder samples.
 • Structural dynamics investigation via in situ experiments.
 • SAXS and XAS techniques for deeper structural understanding of biomolecules and nanomaterials
 • Time-resolved methods for structural determination of reaction intermediates
 • Interpretation and validation of structural models

Topic Editor Marco Milanesio is the founder, shareholder and administrator of private company Nova Res s.r.l. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject.


Keywords: structural characterization, crystallography, spectroscopy, x-rays, diffraction


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Investigating the 3D structure of matter at atomic resolution is crucial to understanding and utilizing biomolecules, nanomaterials, and biomolecule/nanosystem interfaces. Deep explanation and reliable prediction of the properties of these systems is only possible with thorough structural knowledge.

In recent years, there have been many advances in structural characterization methods and techniques. The advent of next-generation X-ray sources, faster and increasingly sensitive detectors, and multi-probe experimental setups, open the possibility for deeper static and dynamic crystallographic investigations. Conformational dynamics at the picosecond scale can now be monitored using X-ray free electron laser facilities. There have also been significant advances in both data quality and resolution of X-ray imaging. Techniques such as small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) can supply complementary structural characterization of nanomaterials in the solid state, and of protein conformations and protein-protein interactions in solution, whilst X-ray spectroscopy (XRS) can be used to effectively investigate the coordination and oxidation state of metal centers in proteins and nanomaterials.

This Research Topic aims to cover advancements in computational and experimental techniques aiming at investigating the structural properties of biomolecules and nanomaterials. A special focus will be given to cases showing an integrative approach to structural analysis, where structural investigations exploit complementary application of different computational and/or experimental techniques.

Original Research and Review manuscripts on the following aspects are welcome:

 • Advances in methods and techniques for high-resolution crystal structure determination by X-ray diffraction
 • Structural dynamics investigations of biomolecules using X-ray free electron lasers
 • State-of-the-art structural characterization in difficult cases: flexible proteins, bad diffracting crystals, low crystalline powder samples.
 • Structural dynamics investigation via in situ experiments.
 • SAXS and XAS techniques for deeper structural understanding of biomolecules and nanomaterials
 • Time-resolved methods for structural determination of reaction intermediates
 • Interpretation and validation of structural models

Topic Editor Marco Milanesio is the founder, shareholder and administrator of private company Nova Res s.r.l. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject.


Keywords: structural characterization, crystallography, spectroscopy, x-rays, diffraction


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

16 March 2021 Manuscript
15 April 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

16 March 2021 Manuscript
15 April 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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