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

International Tables for Crystallography (2006). Vol. F, ch. 9.1, p. 177   | 1 | 2 |

Section 9.1.2. The components of a monochromatic X-ray experiment

Z. Dautera* and K. S. Wilsonb

aNational Cancer Institute, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NSLS, Building 725A-X9, Upton, NY 11973, USA, and bStructural Biology Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of York, York YO10 5DD, England
Correspondence e-mail:

9.1.2. The components of a monochromatic X-ray experiment

| top | pdf |

To collect X-ray data from single crystals, the following elements are required:

  • (1) a source of X-rays;

  • (2) optical elements to focus the X-rays onto the sample;

  • (3) a monochromator to select a single wavelength;

  • (4) a collimator to produce a beam of defined dimension;

  • (5) a shutter to limit the exposure of the sample to X-rays;

  • (6) a goniostat with associated sample holder to allow rotation of the crystal; and

  • (7) the crystalline sample itself.

Other desirable elements are:

  • (1) a cryogenic cooling device for frozen crystals;

  • (2) an efficient, generally 2D, detector system;

  • (3) software to control the experiment and store and display the X-ray images;

  • (4) data-processing software to extract intensities and associated standard uncertainties for the Bragg reflections in the images.

Many of these are discussed elsewhere in this volume. This chapter aims to provide guidance in those areas where choices are to be made by the experimenter and is concerned with the interrelations between parameters and how they conspire for or against different strategies of data collection.

to end of page
to top of page