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Nucl Instrum Methods Phys Res A. 2007 Nov 11;582(1):233-235.

An X-ray microsource based system for crystal screening and beamline development during synchrotron shutdown periods.

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Joint Center for Structural Genomics and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, SLAC, MS 69, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park 94025, USA.


Crystallographic end-stations require a significant investment in state-of-the-art equipment, as well as a significant effort in software development. The equipment often sits idle during annual maintenance shutdowns. In order to utilize the existing hardware and software during these shutdowns, we installed a sealed-tube microsource X-ray generator in the beamline 9-2 hutch at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. A multi-layer optic provides good flux and spectral purity. The small physical size of the source, the long optic to focus distance (635 mm) and the short source to optic distance (65 mm) allowed the use of existing beamline components, without any significant modification. The system replaces a short section of beam pipe upstream of the beam conditioning slits and shutter. The system can be installed and removed from the beamline in less than 1 day.The Joint Center for Structural Genomics (JCSG) and SSRL Structural Molecular Biology group developed the Stanford Automated Mounting (SAM) system and installed it on beamlines at SSRL. The JCSG relies on this system to test crystals for diffraction. The installation of the X-ray microsource in beamline 9-2 allowed crystal screening to continue during SSRL shutdowns. Using a standard screening protocol of two 10 minute exposures, separated by a 90° phi rotation, the system was capable of screening up to 400 crystals per week and was left to run unattended for up to 4 days. Over 8200 crystals were screened during the last four SSRL shutdown periods.An X-ray generator can also be useful for ongoing beamline development. Shutdown periods provide easier access to the experimental hardware, however, some tests require beam. The X-ray microsource offers the ability to conduct these tests during periods when users are not scheduled.

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