Author: Grünbein, M.L.
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Serial Femtosecond Crystallography at MHz XFELs  
  • M.L. Grünbein
    Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany
  The new megahertz (MHz) X-ray free-electron lasers (XFEL) promise data collection in an extremely rapid and sample-efficient manner. However, this can only hold true under the condition that pristine sample is provided at a rate commensurate to the XFEL pulse rate, imposing severe constraints on sample delivery. Liquid jet injection is ideally suited for this task and the method of choice for biological samples. However, the high intensity of the XFEL pulse not only allows to capture diffraction data from tiny samples, but it subsequently also destroys the exposed sample in the jet. The energy deposited by the XFEL beam results in an explosion, generating a gap in the liquid jet transporting the sample [1]. Moreover, a shock wave is launched, propagating along the jet and producing ns-long pressure jumps on the order of 0.1-1 GPa, possibly affecting the sample [1]. We will discuss recent experiments performed at European XFEL, demonstrating that meaningful data collection of unaffected sample is possible at 1 MHz repetition rate [2,3] as well as findings and implications from serial femtosecond crystallography experiments performed at the LCLS using much higher X-ray repetition rate.
[1] C. A. Stan et al., (2016). Nat Phys 12(10): 966-971
[2] M. L. Grünbein et al., (2018). Nat Commun 9: 3487
[3] M. O. Wiedorn et al., (2018). Nat Commun 9: 4025
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