Saturday 3 March 2007

Add a new dimension to molecular graphics

If you like 3D molecular structures you could buy a plastic model set. Then you can use pretty much all your senses for understanding the structure. But what do you do when you run out of atoms? Here's something that's almost as real as a model set and has no atom limit: a 3D-viewer.

You look at double images like this one (created with PyMol's stereo function). The two images look slightly different just like the images your eyes see if you look at one 3-dimensional object are slightly different. The mirrors inside the viewer enable you to look at only the left picture with your left eye and the right picture with you right eye. In your head it seems like you are looking at one 3-dimensional object.

The structures look pretty nice. And the 3D-viewer probably helps you for understanding a structure faster.

If you look at yourself in the mirror it looks kind of creepy because your eye appears in the wrong place.

Actually at our institute for cristallography they had more sophisticated viewers that block out the things outside of the screen better. But my professor said they would not produce those anymore. This one is pretty cool, too. Maybe I should make the eye holes smaller though.

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