Tables for
Volume F
Crystallography of biological macromolecules
Edited by M. G. Rossmann and E. Arnold

International Tables for Crystallography (2006). Vol. F, ch. 10.1, p. 201   | 1 | 2 |

Section Transfer of the crystal to the diffractometer

H. Hopea*

aDepartment of Chemistry, University of California, Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616-5295, USA
Correspondence e-mail: Transfer of the crystal to the diffractometer

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Inspection of Figs.[link] [link] [link]–[link] reveals that the mounting of a crystal on a mounting pin via the traditional placement of the pin in the hole of a standard goniometer head is not simple, because the cooling nozzle is in the way. The solution to the problem is a design that allows side entry. Two methods are in use. One depends on a side-entry slot on a modified goniometer head; the slot is equipped with a spring-loaded catch that allows a very smooth, but stable, catch of the pin. The other method relies on a magnetic platform on the goniometer head and a corresponding magnetic base on the mounting pin.

The use of liquid-N2 cooling and side entry, and the requirement of reproducible knowledge of crystal temperature, led to the development of a set of tools for crystal mounting, as described by Parkin & Hope (1998[link]). The tools include special transfer tongs used for moving crystals from liquid N2 to the goniometer head. The temperature of the crystal is maintained by the heat capacity and low heat conductance of the tongs. The operation is independent of the orientation of the goniometer head, since there is no liquid to contain.


Parkin, S. & Hope, H. (1998). Macromolecular cryocrystallography: cooling, mounting, storage and transportation of crystals. J. Appl. Cryst. 31, 945–953.

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