Argonne scientists lead award-winning team in protein crystallography breakthrough

By Jared SagoffJuly 1, 2010

GM/CA-CAT Beamline Scientists Robert Fischetti and Shenglan Xu, both of the Argonne Biosciences Division, led a team of researchers that won an R&D 100 award for the development of an X-ray beam collimator.

The advent of high-quality, third-generation X-ray sources, such as Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source, have provided new advantages to protein crystallographers. One such benefit is the use of mini X-rays beams, which can be created in two ways: by using optical elements to reduce the focus size of the incident X-ray beam, or by using collimating devices to sample portions of a focused beam.

The Hard X-ray Mini-beam Quad Collimator consists of three essential components: a uni-body quad collimator, a magnetically indexed kinematic mount and a precision motion system. The system provides micron-sized beams of various sizes to a sample. It is compact, durable and economical, and its motions are reproducible and precise at the micron level. It can be placed on beamlines or other X-ray sources. 

The Hard X-ray Mini-beam Quad Collimator was jointly developed by a team from Argonne and the Life Sciences Institute of the University of Michigan. Funding was provided by National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences and National Cancer Institute.