The OSU College of Science is pleased to announce the inaugural award in the Ideas to Impact program.

Prof. Wei Kong of the OSU Chemistry Department and Prof. Joseph Beckman of the OSU Environmental Health Science Center have been awarded $100,000 for a one-year project on “Macromolecule structures at Angstrom resolution using electron diffraction of laser oriented molecules embedded in superfluid helium droplets.”  The goal of their work is to build a new instrument to determine the structure of macromolecules such as proteins.  Conventional x-ray crystallography is limited to molecules that can be crystallized.  Profs. Kong and Beckman propose to circumvent this limitation by using individual macromolecules that are frozen in superfluid helium droplets.  An elliptically polarized laser will then control the alignment of the diffraction species: holding the molecules in the same direction and rotating the direction for data collection from different projections.  The Ideas to Impact funding will allow them to build a prototype of the apparatus.  This new technique will open major frontiers in structural biology and have important uses for characterizing nanomaterials.

The Ideas to Impact program (I2I) is designed to accelerate technology innovation by awarding OSU scientists crucial funding to launch the proof-of-concept phase of commercialization.  I2I was created in 2011 via charitable gifts to the College of Science.  This program supports applied research and development focused on demonstrating proof-of-concept or constructing prototypes, not basic or discovery research.  The primary goal of I2I grants is to markedly enhance the probability that promising new technologies and concepts will be transitioned from the university and non-profit environments and be developed into products, services, or licensing agreements.