SFX user consortium

The SPB/SFX instrument is supported by a partnership between the European XFEL and the Serial Femtosecond Crystallography (SFX) user consortium.

Serial crystallography has become one of the leading applications of X-ray FELs, since it allows structure determination from samples too small for conventional analysis, avoids radiation damage, provides higher-quality data than achievable otherwise, and allows time-resolved measurements over time scales spanning 12 orders of magnitude. The popularity of the technique places demands on the availability of instrumentation and beamtime. Additionally, micro- or nano-crystals of macromolecules cannot easily be characterised to determine their suitability for serial crystallography with FEL pulses, other than measuring diffraction with FEL pulses. That is, there is a great need for sample screening where data may be collected in a minute or less per sample or sample condition, in combination with measurements of full datasets.

The SFX user consortium was thus formed with the goal of providing instrumentation for high-throughput serial femtosecond crystallography and solution scattering measurements. By refocusing the spent beam passing through the hole in the detector of the upstream region of the SPB/SFX instrument to a second downstream sample chamber, it would be possible to run two experiments at once. The efficient application of this idea requires a high level of automation and reliability, which needs dedicated, purpose-built instrumentation. Furthermore, for most macromolecular crystals, a diffraction camera consisting of a detector with about 2000 x 2000 pixels is required. The consortium will provide optics and components to refocus the beam, a measurement station with liquid-jet sample delivery, associated diagnostics, and suitable diffraction detector (with a DAQ system), a pump laser system, and infrastructure modifications and additions to support the instrument.

Institutions contributing to the SFX User Consortium





La Trobe University

Brian Abbey

Melbourne, Australia

University of Gothenburg

Richard Neutze

Gothenburg, Sweden

Max Planck Institute for Medical Research

Ilme Schlichting

Heidelberg, Germany

Slovak Academy of Sciences

Imrich Barak
Karek Saksl

Bratislava, Slovakia

Uppsala University

Janos Hajdu

Uppsala, Sweden

Stockholm University

Martin Högbom

Stockholm, Sweden

Karolinska Institute

Martin Hällberg

Solna, Sweden

Center for Free-Electron Laser Science, DESY

Henry Chapman

Hamburg, Germany

Lund University

Karin Lindkvist

Lund, Sweden

Arizona State University

John Spence

Tempe, Arizona, USA

University of Hamburg

Christian Betzel
Lars Redecke

Hamburg, Germany

Diamond Light Source

Martin Walsh

Oxfordshire, UK

University of St. Andrews

James Naismith

St. Andrews, UK

Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Jan Loewe

Cambridge, UK

Paul Scherrer Institute

Bernd Schmitt

Villigen, Switzerland

University of Lübeck

Lars Redecke

Lübeck, Germany