Richard Henderson (Medical Research Council [MRC] Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK) and colleagues were awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 for research conducted using the predecessor of the Leica DMCIII airborne sensor.
The trio was recognised “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution.” In research leading to the recognition, Henderson and colleagues used scanning technology that preceded today’s CMOS technology in the DMCIII in the form of a SCAI system. The system incorporated technology by Z/I Imaging, which was acquired in 2011, and later led to the development of the DMC series.
“From 1996 until 2015, we used a SCAI scanner at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology to digitise many of our electron micrographs,” said Henderson. ”The technology found in the SCAI scanner helped us and those before us, such as Bettina Boettcher who determined the first subnanometer structure, to make significant discoveries in the field of chemistry.”
Henderson also co-authored a paper that reported “Digitisation of electron microscope films: Six useful tests applied to three film scanners,” in which the performance of three scanners, including the SCAI, were compared in a series of simple tests that showed the technology of the SCAI scanner was suitable for digitisation of electron micrographs.
“Receiving the highest honour in the chemistry field is a well-deserved recognition for Dr Richard Henderson and his work,” said Klaus Neumann, VP technical sales airborne imaging at Leica Geosystems. “His award is an inspiration for Leica Geosystems to continue creating solutions that support scientists with their research. We are proud that throughout the world, bio-molecular scientists use our film scanners for their research projects.”