Modern Methods for Rapid X-Ray Diffraction Data Collection from Crystals of Macromolecules

  • Elspeth F. Garman
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology™ book series (MIMB, volume 56)


During the last 8 years, there has been a revolution in X-ray crystallographic data-collection technology, resulting in an enormous increase in data-acquisition rates and in the range of macromolecules that can be investigated in most laboratories. Provided that the macromolecule forms crystals of reasonable size (minimum of 100 µm in the largest dimension for in-house experiments) and quality, the next step in the determination of its three-dimensional structure is to collect X-ray diffraction data. Some fairly sophisticated equipment is required for this: an X-ray generator, an X-ray detector, and a system of stepping motors (“a goniometer”) with translational slides and rotational arcs above them (“goniometer head”) on which the crystal in a glass or quartz capillary tube is usually held using plasticene and then aligned in the X-ray beam. This chapter will outline the principles of the most commonly used laboratory equipment, and give the basic steps involved in data collection and processing.


Dead Time Detector Face Area Detector Image Plate Main Beam 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elspeth F. Garman
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular BiophysicsUniversity of OxfordUK

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