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

International Tables for Crystallography (2012). Vol. F, ch. 10.1, p. 245   | 1 | 2 |

Section 10.1.4.1. Dual-stream instruments

H. Hopea* and S. Parkinb

aDepartment of Chemistry, University of California, Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616–5295, USA, and bDepartment of Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Correspondence e-mail:  hhope@ucdavis.edu

10.1.4.1. Dual-stream instruments

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Fig. 10.1.4.1[link] shows a schematic drawing of the region around the crystal in a traditional dual-stream apparatus, first described by Post et al. (1951[link]). The device provides for a cold stream surrounded by a concentric warm stream. The diameter of the cold stream is typically around 7 mm with a shield stream of 2–3 mm. The two streams flow parallel to the axis of the crystal mount. In a properly functioning apparatus, the warm stream supplies enough heat to keep the tip of the cold-stream tube above the dew point. It is important that the streams do not mix, or the crystal temperature will not be stable. This is achieved by careful balancing of flow rates to minimize turbulence. (Absence of turbulence can be judged by the shape of the shadow of the cold stream in a parallel beam of bright light.) In a laminar cold stream, the crystal is well protected and no special precautions are needed. The region of constant, minimum temperature will typically have a diameter of about 3 mm. Turbulent flow will result in the absence of any constant-temperature region, so it is vitally important to verify the stream quality.

[Figure 10.1.4.1]

Figure 10.1.4.1 | top | pdf |

Schematic drawing of a dual-stream setup with the streams parallel to the diffractometer ϕ axis. The top part represents the outlet end of the stream delivery device. The outer stream (lighter grey) is dry, warm air. The goniometer head is protected by a shield.

The cold stream has sufficient heat capacity to cool down the goniometer head, and sometimes other adjacent equipment parts as well. A simple solution consists of an aluminium cone equipped with a heating coil on the back. A shield that functions well has been described by Bellamy et al. (1994[link]).

Fig. 10.1.4.2[link] illustrates a situation where the stream direction deviates substantially from the head-on direction in Fig. 10.1.4.1.[link] An angle of 35–55° will give good results. An advantage of an angled delivery is that the cold stream will not touch the goniometer head, and therefore the heated stream deflector is not needed, resulting in simplified installation and operation.

[Figure 10.1.4.2]

Figure 10.1.4.2 | top | pdf |

Schematic drawing of a dual-stream setup with the streams angled relative to the diffractometer ϕ axis. Stream representations are the same as in Fig. 10.1.4.1[link]. The cold stream misses the goniometer head, so no shield is required.

Analysis of the dual-stream apparatus reveals a twofold function of the outer stream: it keeps the nozzle frost-free and it supplies heat to the mounting pin. Protection of the crystal is, in reality, already provided by the laminar cold stream. The nozzle can be kept frost-free simply with an electric heater. Ice formation on the crystal mount can be easily suppressed by appropriate design of the mounting pin and mounting fibre, and attention to their interaction with the cold stream. A successful solution is sketched in Figs. 10.1.4.3[link] and 10.1.4.4[link].

[Figure 10.1.4.3]

Figure 10.1.4.3 | top | pdf |

Schematic drawing of a single-stream setup with the stream parallel to the diffractometer ϕ axis. The cold stream is represented by a grey region. The nozzle is heated above the dew point with a heating coil. The goniometer head is protected by a shield.

[Figure 10.1.4.4]

Figure 10.1.4.4 | top | pdf |

Schematic drawing of a single-stream setup with the stream angled relative to the diffractometer ϕ axis. The cold stream is represented by a grey region. The crystal mounting pin protrudes 1–2 mm into the cold stream. This prevents frost from forming on the mounting fibre. The nozzle is heated above the dew point with a heating coil. The cold stream misses the goniometer head, so no shield is required. In general, the simplest operation is attained with a setup similar to that shown here.

References

Bellamy, H. D., Phizackerley, R. P., Soltis, S. M. & Hope, H. (1994). An open-flow cryogenic cooler for single-crystal diffraction experiments. J. Appl. Cryst. 27, 967–970.
Post, B., Schwartz, R. S. & Fankuchen, I. (1951). An improved device for X-ray diffraction studies at low temperatures. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 22, 218–220.








































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