Researchers at an I.B.M. laboratory have captured a three-dimensional image of a a tobacco mosaic virus using magnetic resonance force microscopy with a spatial resolution down to four nanometers. The New York Times article reports: “Dr. Rugar and others were able to make an image of a single electron with the new technique. The new achievement is the dimensionality of the image. Magnetic resonance force microscopy employs an ultrasmall cantilever arm as a platform for specimens that are then moved in and out of proximity to a tiny magnet. At extremely low temperatures the researchers are able to measure the effect of a magnetic field on the protons in the hydrogen atoms found in the virus”. Since the technique does not require crystallization, it can be used to study structures hat have proven elusive for X-ray crystallography (e.g. membrane proteins). I hope it will give some high resolution 3D data to learn from and improve our models.