Macromolecular crystallography is moving towards even more challenging target proteins which often crystallise on much smaller scales and are frequently mounted in opaque or highly refractive materials. It is therefore essential that X-ray beamline technology develops in parallel to accommodate such difficult samples. I am involved in developing projects into the investigation of <10 micron crystals for the study on VMXm. These advancements include novel mouting procedures for such small crystals, as well developments into the visualisation of very small crystals.
I have also been developing beamline techniques to aid with the visualisation of very small crystals or samples which are impossible to locate due to the way they are mounted. Such materials include membrane proteins mounted in lipidic cubic phase. The main technique I am involved in developing is X-ray micro-tomography on the MX beamlines. This can be used to help locate difficult samples, and also used as a technique for determining the shape and faces of crystals.