Third Fiber Diffraction Workshop

A group of fiber diffractionists gathered at Jenny Wiley State Park, Kentucky, USA, Oct. 5-8, 1997, for the "Third Fiber Diffraction Workshop," part of a series of highly successful workshops sponsored by the du Pont Company.

Highlights of the workshop were descriptions of the uses of neutrons to study water structure around DNA (T. Forsyth) and bacteriophage structure (M. Ivanova), X-ray synchrotron radiation for microfocus and time-resolved studies (W. Fuller and A. Mahendrasingam), and a description of the instrumentation and facilities for fiber diffraction at the SRS (E. Townes-Andrews). G. Stubbs used examples from virus structures determined by fiber diffraction to address the question: What are the limits of fiber diffraction analysis? He concluded that recent successes have not yet defined the limits of molecular replacement approaches.

H. Wang and R. Denny presented an update on software systems for data processing. The various kinds and degrees of disorder present in fiber specimens, ways of modeling them, and their effects on diffraction data and structure determination were discussed by R. Millane and J. Eads.

The structures of a variety of synthetic polymers were described, including fluoropolymers (S.-Y. Park), polyamides (K. Gardner), and copolyester-amides (J.D. Cho), as well as studies of variations in orientation and crystallinity of PET and LDPE both across container walls and during drawing.

The wide applicability of fiber diffraction techniques was illustrated by descriptions of various aspects of applications to viruses, bacteriophages, nucleic acids (A. Radha), actin (R. Page), amyloid (M. Bartlam), polysaccharides (V. Finkenstadt), deoxy-hemoglobin (X.-Q. Mu), liquid crystals (G. Mehl), and various synthetic polymer structures.

The meeting concluded with unanimous agreement to hold a fourth workshop in the year 2000.

Rick Millane