Flex-ray consortium CWI

CWI launches world-class 3d lab in collaboration with ASI

State secretary Dekker opens ‘FleX-ray Lab’ during CWI in Bedrijf

On Thursday 18 May 2017 demissionary state secretary Sander Dekker will open a new research facility that belongs to the top of the world league at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica.  With the new scanner of this lab, it will be made possible for the first time to look inside objects in 3D during the scanning process and to adjust or zoom in while scanning. This is a revolutionary step forward, comparable to the transition from the old fashioned film roll to digital photography. Thanks to realtime data processing and adjustment the scanner is able to retrieve more useful information from the scans faster and with less harmful X-ray dose- than allowed by current technology. At the moment objects have to be scanned for a long time and can only be reviewed after.

Making the invisible visible

The number of application domains possible, is endless. The new techniques can be used for medical imaging, quality control in the food industry and restauration of antique masterpieces. Partnerships with for example Rijksmuseum, Naturalis and Meyn food processing technology have already been established. With the scanner little cracks in antique vases can be tracked, or pieces of bone that have remained inside chicken filet that would not have been noticed otherwise. A sustainable and efficient quality control is of the utmost importance to the manufacturing industry. At this moment quality control often takes place after the production process, whereby errors in the process cannot be fixed anymore. By already looking into the objects during the manufacturing process, errors can be detected in realtime, resulting in a more sustainable manufacturing process.

Read more here

fotografie

Consortium partners @ opening Flexray lab

electron diffraction of pharmaceutical nanocrystals

Determination of pharmaceutical compounds using an ASI Cheetah detector

The group from Prof. Dr. J.P. Abrahams from Leiden University published their research on the determination of organic pharmaceutical compounds using a Timepix quantum area detector developed by ASI. This study has been noted in the research news of International Union of Crystallography on the 26th of February. The following message is adapted from their news item:

Reliable information about the structure of pharmaceutical compounds is important for patient safety, for the development of related drugs and for patenting purposes. However, working out the structures of pharmaceuticals can be tough. The individual molecules can pack together in the solid in different ways to form different polymorphs, and pertinent properties such as stability, bioavailability or how fast they dissolve in the stomach can vary from one polymorph to another. Single crystals (as used in standard X-ray diffraction experiments) therefore might not be representative of the bulk sample, or indeed might not even be available.

Model of ASI detector in an Electron Microscope detector

Model of ASI camera in an electron microscope

Moreover, the compounds themselves can be damaged by the high energy of the X-radiation used. As electrons are less damaging than X-rays by several orders of magnitude, using electron diffraction should be an attractive alternative, particularly when only nanometre-sized crystals are available. Cooling the sample to liquid-nitrogen temperatures (‘cryo-cooling’) can also help to minimize radiation damage, but the compound might change structure on cooling, so the structure that is obtained is not actually that of the material as taken by the patient at room temperature.

A group of scientists from a number of European countries have tackled all aspects of these problems by using low-dose electron diffraction, rotating the sample so that individual nanocrystals are not in the electron beam long enough to be damaged and collecting the diffraction data using a new type of detector developed by CERN [van Genderen et al. (2016), Acta Cryst. A72, doi:10.1107/S2053273315022500]. This new detector combines a high dynamic range with a very high signal-to-noise ratio and sensitivity to single electrons. Radiation damage was reduced so much that cooling the sample was not found to be necessary, allowing the team to study the anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine and nicotinic acid (vitamin B3) at room temperature. The data they collected were high enough quality that they could solve the structures of the two compounds using direct methods and software developed for X-ray crystallography.

Based on their experience with these case studies, the authors are planning to improve the design of their experimental setup further, and will also be developing programs specifically designed for handling electron-diffraction data.

Logo Amsterdam Scientific Instruments

ASI participates at the OMA School on Medical Accelerators at CNAO

The first scientific school of the OMA Project took place at CNAO in Pavia, Italy between 4th and 9th June, gathering 75 delegates from across Europe, including all OMA Fellows and their supervisors. Along the OMA School, CNAO also hosted a school of the Medicis-Promed project, providing opportunities for networking between two major European Training Networks that are supported within the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA). Colleagues Hans Radhoe and Navrit Bal were there representing ASI in the event.
The event kicked off for both schools on Sunday afternoon with a tour of the CNAO synchrotron and treatment rooms, guided by local experts, Dr. Monica Necchi and Sergio Gioia, who explained the technical details of the facility and the patient treatment process.

OMA-school-group

Participants of the OMA School on Medical Accelerators.

Visit of the accelerator facilities at CNAO. Visit of the accelerator facilities at CNAO.

The OMA School talks on Monday morning started with an opening word by Dr Sandro Rossi, and the school programme overview by Dr Monica Necchi, both representing CNAO. They were followed by the OMA network introduction by Magda Klimontowska from the University of Liverpool. The scientific part of the school started with lectures on the History of Medical Accelerators by Dr Tomas Vrba (Czech Technical University in Prague), and an Introduction to Radiation Therapy given by Prof Roberto Orecchia of CNAO. Monday continued with a focus on beam physics and diagnostics, with talks by Drs Javier-Resta Lopez and Ralph Fiorito, both from the University of Liverpool, and Dr Adam Jeff representing the company A.D.A.M. The day concluded with a dynamic questions & answers session, with contributions from the speakers of the day.

The second day focused on accelerator technology relevant for medical applications. Gabriel Gaubert (Pantechnik) initiated the day with a lecture on Ion Sources, followed by Dr Simon Jolly (UCL) contributing a lecture on Low Energy Beam Transport including the RFQ. The extensive programme of the day included sessions on Beam Manipulation by Dr Angeles Faus-Golfe (LAL-CNRS), the Cyclotron by Dr Eric Forton (IBA), the Synchrotron by Dr Fadmar Osmic (MedAustron) and Beam Extraction by Dr Adriano Garonna (TERA Foundation). The topics covered in the lectures were further discussed during the study sessions, where participants in small groups worked with supervisors on solving problems linked to lectures.

The day finished off with a public lecture ‘At the forefront of radiotherapy’ by Dr Marco Pullia of CNAO, which gathered participants of both, the OMA and Medicis-Promed Schools and an external audience from CNAO and the University of Pavia.

Starting from Wednesday the programme focused on medical applications of accelerators. Simulation Codes were discussed by Dr Sven Reiche of PSI, followed by a lecture on Accelerator Control Systems by Prof Luigi Casalegno from CNAO. The talks on that day finished with Beam Delivery System presented by Dr Oxana Actis (PSI), and Marko Mehle from Cosylab introducing the public to regulations applying to the use of medical accelerators. The afternoon included a social hike with a guided tour of a vineyard, providing an opportunity for further networking in the picturesque surroundings of Casteggio hills.

The talks on Thursday focused on Radiobiology (Dr Emanuele Scifoni, INFN), Treatment Planning System (Dr Adam Aitkenhead, Christie) and Image-guided Radiotherapy (Prof Guido Baroni, CNAO), followed by another study session in small groups supervised by the experts of the school. In the afternoon a poster session was organized, with fellows and students presenting their research projects, and joined by industry partners for a table-top industry display. The poster session was a joint event for both OMA and Medicis-Promed schools. The day was concluded with a seminar ‘New X-ray sources and approaches for imaging during therapy and intervention’ given by Dr Gil Travish from Adaptix.

On the final day of the school the audience learned about challenges and future perspectives for CNAO, presented by Dr Sandro Rossi and his team. The lecture on Patient Imaging was given by Dr Georgios Dedes from LMU. The event concluded with an industry session with contributions from OMA industry partners: ViALUX, Cosylab and IBA. OMA project coordinator Prof Carsten P Welsch finally drew proceedings to a close summarising the week’s main outcomes and successes.

All talks are available via the following website: https://indico.cern.ch/event/595518/

Diffraction pattern of Lysozyme

Protein Crystallography goes Nano!

Researchers from Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands recently solved the atomic structure from a single protein nano-crystal (volume: 0.14 um3) using ASI’s detector technology. This is an order of magnitude smaller than what was previously achievable and is due to the unprecedented sensitivity of the detector. This paves the way for structure determination of macromolecules using electron diffraction and ASI’s detectors.

To download the full article, please click here

Determination of pharmaceutical compounds using an ASI detector

The group from Prof. Dr. J.P. Abrahams from Leiden University published their research on the determination of organic pharmaceutical compounds using a Timepix quantum area detector developed by ASI. This study has been noted in the research news of International Union of Crystallography on the 26th of February. The following message is adapted from their news item:

Model of ASI detector in an Electron Microscope detector

Model of ASI camera in an electron microscope

Reliable information about the structure of pharmaceutical compounds is important for patient safety, for the development of related drugs and for patenting purposes. However, working out the structures of pharmaceuticals can be tough. The individual molecules can pack together in the solid in different ways to form different polymorphs, and pertinent properties such as stability, bioavailability or how fast they dissolve in the stomach can vary from one polymorph to another. Single crystals (as used in standard X-ray diffraction experiments) therefore might not be representative of the bulk sample, or indeed might not even be available.

Moreover, the compounds themselves can be damaged by the high energy of the X-radiation used. As electrons are less damaging than X-rays by several orders of magnitude, using electron diffraction should be an attractive alternative, particularly when only nanometre-sized crystals are available. Cooling the sample to liquid-nitrogen temperatures (‘cryo-cooling’) can also help to minimize radiation damage, but the compound might change structure on cooling, so the structure that is obtained is not actually that of the material as taken by the patient at room temperature.

A group of scientists from a number of European countries have tackled all aspects of these problems by using low-dose electron diffraction, rotating the sample so that individual nanocrystals are not in the electron beam long enough to be damaged and collecting the diffraction data using a new type of detector developed by CERN [van Genderen et al. (2016), Acta Cryst. A72, doi:10.1107/S2053273315022500]. This new detector combines a high dynamic range with a very high signal-to-noise ratio and sensitivity to single electrons. Radiation damage was reduced so much that cooling the sample was not found to be necessary, allowing the team to study the anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine and nicotinic acid (vitamin B3) at room temperature. The data they collected were high enough quality that they could solve the structures of the two compounds using direct methods and software developed for X-ray crystallography.

Based on their experience with these case studies, the authors are planning to improve the design of their experimental setup further, and will also be developing programs specifically designed for handling electron-diffraction data.