MX Responsive Beamtime Guide

Diamond MX Open to Users

Beamlines are open for

With an approved proposal the current available options are:

  Run 2 2022 (March-May) Run 3 2022 (July-August)
Remote Access Send samples from 21st March and to arrive no later than 27th May Send samples from 27th June and to arrive no later than 5th August
Automated unattended data collection Send samples from 21st March and to arrive no later than 27th May Send samples from 27th June and to arrive no later than 5th August

On site access and supported remote access

Email and relevant principle beamline scientist, after reading below guidance

Proprietary access (Remote/ Automated/ Mail In)

Discuss with industrial liaison office
Mail-in for I23 long wavelength

Discuss with Armin Wagner

In situ data collection on VMXi

See VMXi webpage and discuss with beamline team.

Read all of the below carefully on how to access the beamlines.

Responsive Beamtime Access

From Run 3 of 2021, Diamond resumed 6-day running with Tuesday as a Machine Day. Therefore User beam is available between 9:00 on Wednesdays through to 9:00 on Tuesdays.

As we continue to prioritise work on COVID-19, we are now operating a responsive access mode. Sessions for shipments on-site will be scheduled after arrival, prioritising COVID-19 related work and taking into account user requests and beamline availability. You can also pre-book sessions for remote or on-site access as outlined below.

All users requiring training or information should get in touch with the local contact associated to their visit. Please write to if no local contact has been assigned yet. 

Industrial users (proprietary access) should liaise with as normal.

Which access route should you choose?

Remote interactive data collection (academic/industrial)

Standard (responsive) remote access to all beamlines. If you have a challenging problem (for example, new crystals to test where diffraction quality is unknown, difficult phasing problems or require microfocus beam) then an interactive remote access visit is likely appropriate. For these visits we will schedule your visit once we have received your samples at Diamond. 

Automated unattended data collection (academic/industrial)

If you have a crystal system that meets straightforward requirements then the automated unattended data collection service is for you.

  • Single crystal >15 µm in size
  • Ability to set a target resolution, either through prior knowledge or experimental requirements

You simply provide us with some limited information when creating your shipment and samples in ISPyB and we handle the rest, with data collected as soon as reasonably possible. This is the most flexible way for us to schedule beamtime currently and places no constraints on your time to be available for collection.
Currently, unattended data collection offers a choice of 4 recipes:

Experiment kind Protocol



Prioritises completeness/resolution and collects 2 x 360° sweeps, 1st at chi=0 and 2nd at chi=30. Each sweep uses half the expected lifetime dose.  20
Phasing Multiple sweeps are collected using different chi/phi values at your chosen energy, using a lower transmission to maximise anomalous multiplicity and completeness. The total dose used is half the expected lifetime.  20
Ligand Prioritises speed of data collection and collects a single sweep, 360° dataset. This single sweep uses the full expected dose and is a good choice for weakly diffracting crystals.  25
Stepped Prioritises resolution and conducts a stepped transmission scan. Each 360° scan increases transmission by a factor of 4.  10


On site access and supported remote access pre-booked sessions

We are trialling both on site access and staff supported remote sessions booked in advance of samples arriving at Diamond. A supported remote session may have involvement of a staff member on your session, perhaps for a challenging phasing problem, training new staff or students, or for testing new features of the beamlines.  

To request either on site access, or a supported remote session please get in touch with the relevant Principal Beamline Scientist and more than 2 weeks before the sesison is required and we will confirm whether the request is feasible. If you're request could be dealt with by multiple beamlines, then email in the first instance and we can forward to the most appropriate Principle Beamline Scientist. 

On site access will also be subject to the Diamond site wide restrictions, see our user information and working protocols.

Once time is scheduled you must inform us no less than 10 working days before the experiment if you no longer wish to use this time so we can make best use of available beamtime. Where feasible you may be able to reuse this time later in the allocation period. If you cancel with less than 10 working days notice the time will be counted towards your allocation.

Mail-in service (industrial only)

For industrial mail-in service please discuss your needs with the industrial liaison team

Long wavelength beamline I23

Please liaise with Armin Wagner for data collections supported by the I23 team.

How to ship samples

All EU and NI users, arranging their shipment with DHL in ISPyB should be aware that they cannot create an airwaybill in ISPyB and should contact (Academic MX), (Industrial Users) or (Academic EBIC) respectively, and follow the appropriate guidance below.


Organiser Academic Users Industrial Users
Diamond User Diamond User
Origin UK ISPyB & DHL User's courier ISPyB & DHL User's courier
EU & NI ISPyB & DHL User's courier EU/ RoW ISPyB & DHL EU/RoW user's Courier
Rest of World N/A User's courier

Those highlighted in green are our current preferred method of shipping. Due to recent changes these rules are subject to change at short notice, so please check current advice before arranging your shipment. 

  • All samples must have been added to your proposal in UAS and been approved by Diamond SHE prior to shipping - do this well in advance of wanting to send samples to allow time for review and approval by Diamond.
  • All samples must be shipped to site by recognised couriers to be delivered to ours goods-in department.
  • It is now mandatory to link approved proteins in UAS when creating samples in ISPyB. Please see brief notes about Protein Acronym in "Section 3 Add container" on the UDC pages here. If you wish to use different Protein Acronyms than those specified in UAS for your folder/file names in data collections you can clone an approved protein. Go to, click on the approved protein and then use the clone button to create a new instance with the Acronym of your choice. This will then be available in the Protein Acronym drop down in container creation. .
  • A Dewar must only contain samples for UDC or responsive remote session or mail-in currently. We cannot accept Dewars with samples for mixed experiment types. A shipment should also only contain one experiment type. 
  • Sample mounts and shipments for I23 beamtime should be coordinated with Armin Wagner.

What do we need to know from you? 

For all routes we need all container and sample information completed before shipment to Diamond. 

For automated unattended data collection, we simply need the information required for data collection parameters for all samples to be provided in UAS and ISPyB as outlined in the webpages here.  

For a responsive remote access or industrial mail-in visits we need you to complete the short questionnaire in the Shipment Comments field when shipping your samples to help us configure the beamtime schedule.

On ticking the Responsive Remote / Mail-in session option (see image below) the questionnaire in the shipment comments requests the following information (please answer after each question as appropriate):

  • INDUSTRIAL USERS ONLY is this for remote data collection or mail-in service work? [remote/mail-in] 
  • Requested beamline session length [hours] 
  • Energy or wavelength requirements [eV/A] 
  • Do you need microfocus beam (provide further information in additional comments)? [y/n] 
  • Are there times in the two weeks after delivery when the people collecting data are unavailable?
  • Additional comments:  

Responsive remote / Mail-in shipment questionsThis information will be reviewed at point of scheduling and adjusted as appropriate to maximise the use of the available beamtime.

Please note until relevant information is provided and containers and samples are created, shipped and have arrived at Diamond we will not be able to schedule your beamtime.

How will scheduling work?

We now schedule by the hour for remote access and mail-in sessions based on the information provided by yourselves at the shipment stage. Samples for responsive remote access will be scheduled once they are on-site, and have information completed on samples in ISPyB. Where feasible we may be able to make slots available the same week and we will contact you to set these up. Equally if demand is high at any time we may need to contact you to allocate the earliest available slot outside of the period you have provided with your shipment for your availability. Scheduled users will receive notification of time automatically from UAS. Please contact us immediately if there are any issues with the allocated time. We will have limited opportunities to adjust the schedule and your time may need to be deferred to a later slot if you cannot use the offered time.

Samples for automated unattended data collection will be collected at the earliest possible available slot.

Scheduling for on site, or supported remote session will be done in advance, by contacting and the relevant Principle Beamline Scientist. This may be in advance of the samples sent to Diamond, in this case you should send samples to against that registered visit. 

What do after your remote visit is scheduled

As with any scheduled beamtime, in UAS you will need to add team members who wish to collect data and complete the ERA including samples for this session. You will have only shipped samples to us that have already been approved at the proposal level (see above) and consequently if samples you add to the visit are green your visit should automatically be approved and we can load your pucks. New unapproved samples should not be added at this stage.

Who to contact?

For enquiries (except for I23, VMXi and industry) prior to any beamtime please contact who will coordinate a response to your questions. 

Once a visit has been scheduled and a local contact has been assigned please liaise with them first (see UAS for your local contact). 

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