Laboratório Nacional
de Luz Síncrotron


Applications in medicine and cosmetics


Health research performed with synchrotron light is fundamental for the identification of complex structures and complex intracellular units, an important step in the development of new drugs. Imaging techniques with nanoscale spatial resolution have also made enormous contributions in the analysis of organs and tissues. Another application is the development of nanoparticles for the diagnosis of cancer and the fight against viruses and bacteria – including those that offer resistance to antibiotics.





The determination of the three-dimensional structure of proteins, that is, the position of each of their atoms and their interactions, allows the development of new technologies for drug discovery. From the moment a protein is identified as the therapeutic target, the structural study with synchrotron light can show how a drug binds to that molecule, guide modifications to improve that drug binding, or even suggest which modifications in the molecular structure of the drug can be done without affecting their binding abilities in the protein.


Although typically synchrotrons light sources are not used for conventional medical diagnosis, their far superior characteristics, compared to conventional sources allow measurements with higher resolution and contrast in much shorter times. In conventional x-ray tomography, for example, the high brightness of synchrotron light sources allows not only the minimization of the exposure times by several orders of magnitude but also in vivo measurements.


Several analysis techniques available in synchrotron light sources can benefit the cosmetic industry, both for the development of new products and for the evaluation of the safety and effects of products on the skin, hair and nails. It is also possible to analyze their physical and chemical behavior after the application.