Serial Femtosecond Crystallography

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Serial Femtosecond Crystallography (SFX) is the measurement of crystal structure by rapidly measuring incomplete diffraction patterns from a sequence of identical sample crystals. This is often performed at an XFEL, where a sequence of crystals is dropped through the intense beam. With each snapshot, the crystal is measured shortly before it is destroyed by the intense beam ('diffract-and-destroy'). The sequence of diffraction patterns (slices through the three-dimensional reciprocal-space) can then be merged or analyzed collectively to determine the realspace crystal structure.

As the brightness (high-flux and small spot-size) of modern synchrotrons increase, their measurements of crystals are also approaching the diffract-and-destroy regime; the same reconstruction methods are thus applicable to modern macromolecular crystallography beamlines.

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