Two major tools in the structural biology have long been solution-state NMR and x-ray crystallography. Recently, solid-state NMR (SSNMR) is drawing a lot of attention as one of the most versatile and attractive tools for the same purpose.
Advantage of using SSNMR is following: 1) there is no molecular weight limit for hte analysis. 2) It is applicable to samples that is insoluble or fragile in solvent. Also, it can analyze samples that does not or difficult to crystallize, such as membrane proteins. 3) It can analyze Amyloid fibril, which is known to be related to Alzheimer / prion diseases, which is not crystalline and insoluble. All those samples represent proteins or protein-assemblies that has been known to be of crucial biomedical importance, but whose structural study has been lagged far behind the more accessible ones, i.e. soluble or crystalizable proteins.
SSNMR technique is still in a process of maturation, meaning that often times we design, craft and test new technologies/methodologies in house to address questions. This is tough yet the most interesting part of research.