Microcrystal electron diffraction (MicroED), also known as 3D electron diffraction (3D ED), is an exciting new method for solving small molecule crystal structures. MicroED solves the age-old problem of growing large crystals by being able to work with crystals on the order of a few hundred nanometers. Larger crystals can also be used for MicroED studies as they are easy to fragment into suitably sized crystals.
MicroED can determine crystal structures from microcrystalline powders
MicroED has the potential to provide information rich crystal structures where other techniques such as single crystal X-ray diffraction (scXRD) have failed, thus expanding the realm of molecules amenable to crystallography. MicroED is especially useful for determining the structures of anhydrous crystal forms, where dehydration can damage the large crystals needed for scXRD while MicroED-sized crystals remain intact.
Obtaining a crystal structure early in the drug development process can rapidly accelerate regulatory filing. Having a crystal structure can eliminate the need for orthogonal characterization techniques that take up precious time and resources. Additionally, selecting the right polymorph or other solid formulation early in the process also sets your team up for success down the line. MicroED can eliminate the need for laborious crystallization trials and provide the structure your team needs in a fraction of the time.