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Chapman H.N.,German Electron Synchrotron | Chapman H.N.,University of Hamburg | Chapman H.N.,Center for Ultrafast Imaging
Synchrotron Radiation News | Year: 2015

X-ray free-electron lasers produce brief flashes of X-rays that are of about a billion times higher peak brightness than achievable from storage ring sources. Such a tremendous jump in X-ray source capabilities, which came in 2009 when the Linac Coherent Light Source began operations, was unprecedented in the history of X-ray science. Protein structure determination through the method of macromolecular crystallography has consistently benefited from the many increases in source performance from rotating anodes to all generations of synchrotron facilities. But when confronted with the prospects of such bright beams for structural biology, enthusiastic proposals were tempered by trepidation of the effects of such beams on samples and challenges to record data [1]. A decade after these discussions (and others in the USA) on the applications of X-ray FELs for biology, the first experiments took place at LCLS, giving results that fulfilled many of the dreams of the early visionaries. In particular, the concept that diffraction representing the pristine object could be recorded before the X-ray pulse completely vaporizes the object was validated [2], confirming predictions [3] that established dose limits could be vastly exceeded using femtosecond-duration pulses. The first experiments illuminated a path to achieve room-temperature structures free of radiation damage, from samples too small to provide useful data at synchrotron facilities, as well as providing the means to carry out time-resolved crystallography at femtoseconds to milliseconds. In the five years since, progress has been substantial and rapid, invigorating the field of macromolecular crystallography [4, 5]. This phase of development is far from over, but with both the LCLS and the SPring-8 Ångström Compact Free-electron Laser (SACLA) providing facilities for measurements, the benefits of X-ray FELs are already being translated into new biological insights. ©, Copyright Taylor & Francis.

Chavas L.M.G.,German Electron Synchrotron | Gumprecht L.,German Electron Synchrotron | Chapman H.N.,German Electron Synchrotron | Chapman H.N.,University of Hamburg | Chapman H.N.,Center for Ultrafast Imaging
Structural Dynamics | Year: 2015

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) uses X-ray pulses from free-electron laser (FEL) sources that can outrun radiation damage and thereby overcome long-standing limits in the structure determination of macromolecular crystals. Intense X-ray FEL pulses of sufficiently short duration allow the collection of damage-free data at room temperature and give the opportunity to study irreversible time-resolved events. SFX may open the way to determine the structure of biological molecules that fail to crystallize readily into large well-diffracting crystals. Taking advantage of FELs with high pulse repetition rates could lead to short measurement times of just minutes. Automated delivery of sample suspensions for SFX experiments could potentially give rise to a much higher rate of obtaining complete measurements than at today's third generation synchrotron radiation facilities, as no crystal alignment or complex robotic motions are required. This capability will also open up extensive time-resolved structural studies. New challenges arise from the resulting high rate of data collection, and in providing reliable sample delivery. Various developments for fully automated high-throughput SFX experiments are being considered for evaluation, including new implementations for a reliable yet flexible sample environment setup. Here, we review the different methods developed so far that best achieve sample delivery for X-ray FEL experiments and present some considerations towards the goal of high-throughput structure determination with X-ray FELs. © 2015 Author(s).

Chapman H.N.,German Electron Synchrotron | Chapman H.N.,University of Hamburg | Chapman H.N.,Center for Ultrafast Imaging | Caleman C.,German Electron Synchrotron | And 2 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2014

X-ray free-electron lasers have opened up the possibility of structure determination of protein crystals at room temperature, free of radiation damage. The femtosecond-duration pulses of these sources enable diffraction signals to be collected from samples at doses of 1000 MGy or higher. The sample is vaporized by the intense pulse, but not before the scattering that gives rise to the diffraction pattern takes place. Consequently, only a single flash diffraction pattern can be recorded from a crystal, giving rise to the method of serial crystallography where tens of thousands of patterns are collected from individual crystals that flow across the beam and the patterns are indexed and aggregated into a set of structure factors. The high-dose tolerance and the many-crystal averaging approach allow data to be collected from much smaller crystals than have been examined at synchrotron radiation facilities, even from radiation-sensitive samples. Here, we review the interaction of intense femtosecond X-ray pulses with materials and discuss the implications for structure determination. We identify various dose regimes and conclude that the strongest achievable signals for a given sample are attained at the highest possible dose rates, from highest possible pulse intensities. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Yoon C.H.,German Electron Synchrotron | Barthelmess M.,German Electron Synchrotron | Bean R.J.,German Electron Synchrotron | Capotondi F.,Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste | And 9 more authors.
Optics Express | Year: 2014

Knowledge of the sequence of different conformational states of a protein molecule is key to better understanding its biological function. A diffraction pattern from a single conformational state can be captured with an ultrafast X-ray Free-Electron Laser (XFEL) before the target is completely annihilated by the radiation. In this paper, we report the first experimental demonstration of conformation sequence recovery using diffraction patterns from randomly ordered conformations of a non-periodic object using the dimensional reduction technique Isomap and coherent diffraction imaging. © 2014 Optical Society of America.

Mariani V.,German Electron Synchrotron | Morgan A.,German Electron Synchrotron | Yoon C.H.,German Electron Synchrotron | Yoon C.H.,SLAC | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Applied Crystallography | Year: 2016

This article describes a free and open-source data analysis utility designed for fast online feedback during serial X-ray diffraction and scattering experiments: OnDA (online data analysis). Three complete real-time monitors for common types of serial X-ray imaging experiments are presented. These monitors are capable of providing the essential information required for quick decision making in the face of extreme rates of data collection. In addition, a set of modules, functions and algorithms that allow developers to modify the provided monitors or develop new ones are provided. The emphasis here is on simple, modular and scalable code that is based on open-source libraries and protocols. OnDA monitors have already proven to be invaluable tools in several experiments, especially for scoring and monitoring of diffraction data during serial crystallography experiments at both free-electron laser and synchrotron facilities. It is felt that in the future the kind of fast feedback that OnDA monitors provide will help researchers to deal with the expected very high throughput data flow at next-generation facilities such as the European X-ray free-electron laser. © 2016 International Union of Crystallography.

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