A micro-patterned silicon chip as sample holder for macromolecular crystallography experiments with minimal background scattering.
Roedig P., Vartiainen I., Duman R., Panneerselvam S., Stübe N., Lorbeer O., Warmer M., Sutton G., Stuart DI., Weckert E., David C., Wagner A., Meents A.
At low emittance synchrotron sources it has become possible to perform structure determinations from the measurement of multiple microcrystals which were previously considered too small for diffraction experiments. Conventional mounting techniques do not fulfill the requirements of these new experiments. They significantly contribute to background scattering and it is difficult to locate the crystals, making them incompatible with automated serial crystallography. We have developed a micro-fabricated sample holder from single crystalline silicon with micropores, which carries up to thousands of crystals and significantly reduces the background scattering level. For loading, the suspended microcrystals are pipetted onto the chip and excess mother liquor is subsequently soaked off through the micropores. Crystals larger than the pore size are retained and arrange themselves according to the micropore pattern. Using our chip we were able to collect 1.5 Å high resolution diffraction data from protein microcrystals with sizes of 4 micrometers and smaller.