Center for Structural Molecular Biology

About the Resource

The Center for Structural Molecular Biology (CSMB) develops instrumentation and methods enabling users to perform structural studies of biomolecular systems using capabilities at two Oak Ridge National Laboratory user facilities—the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS).

The centerpiece of CSMB is a small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) instrument at HFIR called Bio-SANS, which complements structural biology capabilities at other DOE facilities. HFIR’s high-performance cold neutron source provides Bio-SANS with a high signal-to-noise ratio ideal for analyzing biological systems.

CSMB also supports the Bio-Deuteration Laboratory, located at SNS, for cloning, gene expression, purification, and characterization of labeled biological macromolecules. Combining deuterium labeling with SANS experiments, data analysis and visualization enables researchers to construct models of complex systems not obtainable using other techniques.

CSMB welcomes interest from researchers from a wide variety of scientific disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and computational sciences.

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About the Home Facilities

High Flux Isotope Reactor

HFIR is a scientific user facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory sponsored by DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Operating at 85 MW, HFIR is the highest flux reactor-based source of neutrons for research in the United States, and it provides one of the highest steady-state neutron fluxes of any research reactor in the world. The thermal and cold neutrons produced by HFIR are used to study physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering, and biology. More than 500 researchers each year take advantage of HFIR’s intense neutron flux, constant power density, and constant-length fuel cycles for neutron scattering research into the fundamental properties of condensed matter.

Spallation Neutron Source

SNS is a scientific user facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory sponsored by DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences. SNS is a one-of-a-kind research facility providing the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world for scientific research and industrial development. SNS produces neutrons with an accelerator-based system that delivers short (microsecond) proton pulses to a target/moderator system, where neutrons are produced by a process called spallation. State-of-the-art experiment stations provide a variety of capabilities for researchers across a broad range of disciplines, including physics, chemistry, materials science, and biology.

Co-located DOE Office of Science User Facilities

  • Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) was established at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2004 with the mission of accelerating scientific discovery and engineering progress by providing outstanding computing and data management resources to high-priority research and development projects.
  • Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) integrates nanoscale science with neutron science; synthesis science; and theory, modeling, and simulation. Operating as a national user facility, CNMS supports a multidisciplinary environment for research to understand nanoscale materials and phenomena.