Shock damage analysis in serial femtosecond crystallography data collected at MHz X-ray free-electron lasers

Alexander Gorel, Marie Luise Grünbein, Richard Bean, Johan Bielecki, Mario Hilpert, Michele Cascella, Jacques Philippe Colletier, Hans Fangohr, Lutz Foucar, Elisabeth Hartmann, Mark S. Hunter, Henry Kirkwood, Marco Kloos, Romain Letrun, Thomas Michelat, Robert L. Shoeman, Jolanta Sztuk-Dambietz, Guillaume Tetreau, Herbert Zimmermann, Adrian P. MancusoThomas R.M. Barends, R. Bruce Doak, Claudiu Andrei Stan, Ilme Schlichting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) data were recorded at the European X-ray free-electron laser facility (EuXFEL) with protein microcrystals delivered via a microscopic liquid jet. An XFEL beam striking such a jet may launch supersonic shock waves up the jet, compromising the oncoming sample. To investigate this efficiently, we employed a novel XFEL pulse pattern to nominally expose the sample to between zero and four shock waves before being probed. Analyzing hit rate, indexing rate, and resolution for diffraction data recorded at MHz pulse rates, we found no evidence of damage. Notably, however, this conclusion could only be drawn after careful identification and assimilation of numerous interrelated experimental factors, which we describe in detail. Failure to do so would have led to an erroneous conclusion. Femtosecond photography of the sample-carrying jet revealed critically different jet behavior from that of all homogeneous liquid jets studied to date in this manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1145
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry


  • Protein crystallography
  • Serial femtosecond crystallography
  • Shock wave
  • X-ray free-electron laser


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