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Open Access Publications from the University of California

XFEL diffraction: developing processing methods to optimize data quality.

  • Author(s): Sauter, Nicholas K
  • et al.

Serial crystallography, using either femtosecond X-ray pulses from free-electron laser sources or short synchrotron-radiation exposures, has the potential to reveal metalloprotein structural details while minimizing damage processes. However, deriving a self-consistent set of Bragg intensities from numerous still-crystal exposures remains a difficult problem, with optimal protocols likely to be quite different from those well established for rotation photography. Here several data processing issues unique to serial crystallography are examined. It is found that the limiting resolution differs for each shot, an effect that is likely to be due to both the sample heterogeneity and pulse-to-pulse variation in experimental conditions. Shots with lower resolution limits produce lower-quality models for predicting Bragg spot positions during the integration step. Also, still shots by their nature record only partial measurements of the Bragg intensity. An approximate model that corrects to the full-spot equivalent (with the simplifying assumption that the X-rays are monochromatic) brings the distribution of intensities closer to that expected from an ideal crystal, and improves the sharpness of anomalous difference Fourier peaks indicating metal positions.

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