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Rigaku and JEOL Launch a Revolutionary Electron Diffraction Platform XtaLAB Synergy-ED

A Turnkey Solution for Molecular Structure Determination for Nanocrystals

Rigaku Corporation (Headquarters: Akishima, Tokyo, Japan; Chairman & CEO: Hikaru Shimura), a leading company producing X-ray analysis instruments, and JEOL Ltd. (Headquarters: Akishima, Tokyo, Japan; President & COO: Izumi Oi), a leading company producing electron microscopes and other analytical instruments, have announced the launch of the XtaLAB Synergy-ED, an integrated electron diffraction platform for the determination of molecular structures from nanocrystals, a joint project that has been underway since May 2020.

XtaLAB Synergy-ED is a new and fully integrated electron diffractometer, creating a seamless workflow from data collection to structure determination of three-dimensional molecular structures. The XtaLAB Synergy-ED is the result of an innovative collaboration to synergistically combine our core technologies:  Rigaku’s high-speed, high-sensitivity photon-counting detector (HyPix-ED) and state-of-the-art instrument control and single crystal analysis software platform (CrysAlisPro for ED), and JEOL’s long-term expertise and market leadership in designing and producing transmission electron microscopes. The key feature of this product is that it provides researchers an integrated platform enabling easy access to electron crystallography. The XtaLAB Synergy-ED is a system any X-ray crystallographer will find intuitive to operate without having to become an expert in electron microscopy.

The determination of 3D molecular structures at the atomic level is a key technique for driving innovation in the drug discovery, synthetic chemistry and material science fields. Single crystal X-ray structure analysis has long been the primary technique used to determine accurate 3D molecular structures for inorganic, organic and protein molecules. By providing highly accurate and reliable molecular structures, X-ray crystallography has contributed to the discovery of new substances, elucidation of biological activity and chemical reactivity, prediction of interactions with other substances, and confirmation of expected efficacy of medicines.

However, in recent years, there has been an increasing need for the structure analysis of substances that only form microcrystals, crystals that are only a few hundred nanometers or less in size. Analysis of crystals of this size is not possible with X-ray crystallography, where the smallest possible crystal dimension is 1 micron, and only then when utilizing the brightest X-ray sources. In recent years, a new analytical method, MicroED, has been developed that uses electron diffraction on a TEM electron microscope to measure 3D molecular structures from nanocrystalline materials. Researchers developing this technique have relied on customized electron microscopes and a combination of microscopy software for measuring diffraction data, and public domain X-ray crystallography software for data processing and structure determination. Switching a microscope configuration between imaging and diffraction can be time-consuming, making the sharing of an instrument sometimes difficult. 

An example structure from XtaLAB Synergy-ED: Gefitinib (crystal size is about 300 nm)
An example structure from XtaLAB Synergy-ED:
Gefitinib (crystal size is about 300 nm)

To address these issues, Rigaku and JEOL started a collaboration to develop a dedicated single crystal structure analysis platform for nanocrystals utilizing key technologies from both companies. The result of this collaboration is the XtaLAB Synergy-ED, a dedicated electron diffractometer that is operated by the same control software that is used to run Rigaku’s X-ray diffractometers and includes a complete integrated pipeline from sample selection and diffraction measurement to data processing and structure solution. This instrument can easily be installed in an existing X-ray crystallography facility, where researchers and students will be able to easily master the MicroED technique since the software workflow is the same as for an X-ray diffractometer. Having such an instrument installed in an X-ray facility immediately provides structure determination for materials that only form nanocrystals.

Hikaru Shimura, Chairman & CEO of Rigaku Corporation, says: 

Today, on the first anniversary of signing the joint development agreement with JEOL, we are very pleased to see the collaboration between the two companies has come to fruition and we are launching the XtaLAB Synergy-ED. Rigaku will steadily follow our corporate philosophy of "contributing to the development of human society through advances in science and technology," and will continue to provide solutions satisfying our customers. 

Izumi Oi, President & COO of JEOL Ltd., says:

We are proud that the collaboration between Rigaku and JEOL has created a synergistic effect among the core technologies of both companies and reached the point to announce the new platform XtaLAB Synergy-ED. Since its foundation, JEOL’s main goal has continued to be “contributing to the progress in both Science and Human Society” on the basis of "Creativity" and "Research & Development". As progress in science and technology has been remarkable and the roles expected from a company are diversifying, we will continue to provide solutions matching the needs enabling customer innovation.

About JEOL

Since its foundation in 1949, JEOL has worked hard to expand its business in electron microscopes, analytical instruments, medical instruments, and industrial instruments based on the founding principle "contributing to the progress in both Science and Human Society" on the basis of "Creativity" and "Research & Development".

Ahead of other manufacturers, with the global market in mind, we established a worldwide organization to facilitate sales and service activities. This effort has borne fruit, and today our instruments are being utilized everywhere in the world, and our reputation as a genuine global company has been firmly established.

We will continue to enhance our global sales and service network which can meet the times and satisfy our customers' needs with speed, while also providing the optimal solutions for customers to achieve future innovation, based on our corporate message of "Solutions for Innovation".

About Rigaku

Since its inception in 1951, Rigaku has been at the forefront of analytical and industrial instrumentation technology. Today, with hundreds of major innovations to their credit, the Rigaku Group of Companies are world leaders in the fields of general X-ray diffraction (XRD), thin film analysis (XRF, XRD and XRR), X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (TXRF, EDXRF and WDXRF), small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), protein and small molecule X-ray crystallography, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray optics, semiconductor metrology (TXRF, XRF, XRD and XRR), X-ray sources, computed tomography, nondestructive testing and thermal analysis.

With Rigaku's vast understanding of X-ray physics and complementary technologies as a foundation, the company’s true strength is seen in an unparalleled willingness to collaborate with our customers. By promoting partnerships, dialogs, and innovation within the global scientific and industrial communities, Rigaku demonstrates a relentless commitment to providing our client markets with fully integrated solutions.

The company and its employees are dedicated to developing and supplying universities, industry, and government labs with the ultimate in customer-focused integrated solutions across a wide variety of disciplines, including structural proteomics, nanoengineering research, general purpose X-ray diffraction (XRD) and spectroscopy (XRF), materials analysis and quality assurance.

Whether supplying the tools to create better semiconductor chips, enabling drug discovery, improving production line quality, or exploring the new frontier of nanotechnology, Rigaku products and services lead with innovation.