Serial Synchrotron Crystallography (SSX) is an emerging method driven, in part, by the sample requirements imposed by X-ray Free Electron Lasers. Serial techniques can also be exploited at synchrotrons, especially at microfocus beamlines, opening up many new opportunities. At I24 we are developing serial approaches and a number of these are now ready for use. Our expertise is in fixed target serial crystallography but other approaches are also available (see below).
Serial data collection at I24 is an emerging area and it will be offered as a standard user mode in the near future. We are currently in the final stages of commissioning with a small number of user groups and are keen to continue testing with more user groups - get in touch if you're interested.
Update: you can now apply for serial beamtime in UAS (see here)
Fixed Target Serial Synchrotron Crystallography (FT-SSX) is attractive as it potentially offers high hit-rates coupled with modest sample consumption. Further, the same approach can be used almost without modification at both synchrotrons and FELs.
Our fixed target approach makes use of silcon nitride 'chips' has been developed over the last few years in collaboration with the Miller groups in Toronto and Hamburg. We have recently developed our own chips and have collected good quality data using them at both I24 and XFEL sources. The current generation of chip is capable of holding >25,000 crystals.
Chips are mounted on a high-speed, high-precision xyz stage mounted at the sample position. This setup allows data collection from all 25,600 positions on a chip in less than 10 minutes.
Data collection is straightforward and via a staff written gui (shown below).
Diffraction data suitable for structure solution are routinely collected. During data collection basic information on hit-rate is available via the software sloth.
We are always happy to look in new directions and this is a rapidly evolving area. If you have samples of interest or your own fixed targets you'd like to try please get in touch.
References / further information
A LCP extruder can be mounted at I24 relatively easily with data collection available through a staff written gui. We are working on improving the implementation of this and also implementation at other beamlines. If you're interested please get in touch.
Thin films can provide an extremely convenient means of high throughput room temperature data collection especially when the number of crystals available is limited.
Thin film data collection such as that shown in the image above can be done straightforwardly within your 'normal' beamtime. Higher area/capacity film options are also available. Contact staff for details.
For details of think film data collection at Diamond see Axford et al (2016)
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