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Micron. 2004;35(1-2):107-8.

Immobilization of Scapharca HbI crystals improves data quality in time-resolved crystallographic experiments.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


Time-resolved crystallography is a powerful technique that allows structural transitions to be followed in real time during the course of a chemical reaction. The extension of the time resolution of this technique to nanosecond and picosecond time scales require a short laser pulse to initiate the transition and a rapid polychromatic X-ray pulse to probe the structural perturbations. Unfortunately, polychromatic diffraction patterns are quite sensitive to subtle crystal movements that can occur from laser pulses used to trigger the structural transition. The immobilization of crystals within capillary tubes dramatically improves data quality and allows the utilization of more intense laser pulses for the initiation step. This leads to an increase in the signal to noise present in the electron density maps.

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