Neutron Science Directorate
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Title: Neutron Biophysics: From Atoms to Cells

Abstract:

Neutron scattering is exquisitely sensitive to the location, concentration and dynamics of hydrogen atoms in materials, and is therefore a powerful tool for the characterization of structure-function and interfacial relationships in biological systems. Modern neutron scattering facilities offer access to a sophisticated, non-destructive suite of instruments for biophysical characterization that provide spatial and dynamic information spanning from Å to microns and from picoseconds to microseconds, respectively. Applications range from atomic-resolution studies of individual hydrogen atoms in enzymes, through to multi-scale analyses of hierarchical structures and assemblies in biological complexes, membranes and in living cells. ORNL operates two world-class facilities for neutron scattering research and provides un-paralleled capabilities for neutron-based analysis of biological materials. We will briefly describe the capabilities that are available, then highlight how these are being used to provide novel information on the dynamics, structure, function and interfacial relationships in complex biological systems.