Hilmar Koerner’s favorite structure is:

Nematic phase under external fields

Nematic phase under external fields

Source: taken myself with CCD image at CHESS


Liquid Crystal phases are not only beautiful under the polarizing optical microscope with a colorful display of textures. They also are beautiful in reciprocal space, especially when seen in real-time under external fields, such as electric or magnetic fields. It looks majestic when the molecules switch orientation and you see the X-ray pattern change from equatorial to meridional on demand…—Hilmar Koerner

Alexander Bayden’s favorite structure is:

HIV-1 Protease Complexed with KNI-1689


Source: Created from PDB described in Hidaka, Koushi, et al. “Small-sized human immunodeficiency virus type-1 protease inhibitors containing allophenylnorstatine to explore the S2′ pocket.” Journal of medicinal chemistry 52.23 (2009): 7604-7617.


This is the one of the highest resolution structures of HIV-1 protease. The reason I like it is because this protein is challenging in many ways. For decades we have been trying, but were unable to create a cure for HIV. HIV-1 protease is especially tricky. Its crystals of are notoriously hard to prepare because this protein eats up the cells that produce it in significant amounts. In addition to that, there are non-standard protonation states in the active site of HIV-1 protease. They change depending on the ligand bound and the pH of the environment.—Alexander Bayden

Keith Werling’s favorite structure is:



The first paper that I was first author on involved using ab initio quantum mechanics to calculate the piezo coefficient of 2-methyl-4-nitroaniline. This was one of the first papers to show that hydrogen-bonds can exhibit a significant piezoelectric response. I'm now using the methods that I have since developed from these initial calculations to find organic crystals that show piezo responses that can compete with the many inorganic ceramics that are the leading piezoelectric materials.  Hopefully the diversity of organic materials will broaden the uses of piezo materials.  An example would be the use of flexible film piezoelectrics in the use of pacemakers!  Wish I could upload a graphic from my paper, but I don't have a laptop with me  =(—Keith Werling

cory reidl’s favorite structure is:



I think DapE, a homodimer diZn metaloprotease that can modulate its catalytic activity by substituting one of its metals with Co, Mn or Mg, is an awesome crystal structure because it has been found it has been found to be a target for drug targeting and it can act as a programmable protease.—cory reidl

David Blake’s favorite structure is:

First pXRD pattern from Mars


Source: NASA/JPL-CalTech/Ames


The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has been operating on Mars since Aug. 6, 2012. Curiosity carried with it the first spaceflight-qualified X-ray Diffractometer, a breadbbox-sized XRD called CheMin. CheMin returned the first XRD pattern from another planet in 2012, nearly coincident with the centennial of the discovery of X-ray diffraction by von Laue in 1912. The transmission-geometry 2D pattern, in the same geometry as those obtained by von Laue, provided the first quantitative mineralogy of the Mars surface (D.L. Bish et al., Science 341, 1238932 (2013)). A second CheMin analysis identified an ancient habitable environment on Mars (D.T. Vaniman et al., Science 343, 1243480 (2014)—David Blake

Maxwell Chung’s favorite structure is:



Because the diamond is expensive. It's all about the money. That's what life teaches you. But it also teaches you the simplistic beauty which is apparent in all the amazing creatures and things in the world that surround us. Chemistry has taught me to become a better person and a better man. I am grateful for Chemistry and the ACS and specifically C&EN for allowing me to tell others about my feelings.—Maxwell Chung

James Bellows’s favorite structure is:


Source: Acta Crystallographica Section B: Structural Crystallography and Crystal Chemistry 34(11) 3256 (1978)


Because it was determined by Raman spectroscopy.  We had 1,4-dichloro- and 1,4-dibromonaphthalene structures.  It has the 1,4-dichloronaphthalene structure with broadening, indicating that the bromines and chlorines are randomly arranged.—James Bellows

sudhir mittapalli’s favorite structure is:

NaCl crystal structure


Source: Wikipedia


The first atomic-resolution structure to be "solved" (i.e., determined) in 1914 was that of table salt. After Von Laue's pioneering research, the crystallography field developed rapidly, most notably by physicists William Lawrence Bragg and his father William Henry Bragg. In 1912–1913, the younger Bragg developed Bragg's law, which connects the observed scattering with reflections from evenly spaced planes within the crystal.The Braggs, father and son, shared the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in crystallography.—sudhir mittapalli

Kerry Fowler’s favorite structure is:



Source: PDB:3TMI Image generated with PyMol


Until my current job I had worked primarily in cancer drug discovery and knew virtually nothing about the innate immune system.  This amazing first-line defense to infection includes the RNA detector RIG-I which grabs onto the invader's double helix. —Kerry Fowler