The first commissioning experiments at ELI Beamlines

In the most recent experiment a research group lead by prof. Gergely Katona, the senior lecturer of the Department of Chemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg in Sweden together with the ELI Beamlines staff represented by Krishna Khakurel, Vitaly Polovinkin and Borislav Angelov performed protein crystallography experiments at the newly commissioned X-ray diffraction station. ELI Beamlines provided prof. Katona and his Ph.D. student Viktor Gagnér with the latest technologies in the experimental hall E1 at ELI Beamlines.

The experiment, which was made, aims to develop the methodology for the future pump probe protein crystallography at ELI with the utilization of Tera Hertz (THz) activation. The users measured X-ray diffraction from the model protein Lysozyme while it was excited with non-ionizing THz radiation.

The experiment was successful and it is an important achievement opening the road for more advanced projects that will be realized in the coming months to demonstrate the primary advantages of the femtosecond X-ray sources for time resolved studies. The Swedish team is already discussing the future outlook, based on this stimulating experiment.


Picture: At the center of the goniometer is placed a 100 um, or so, protein crystal (lysozyme in these test experiments). This is cooled by a slow stream of Nitrogen (the head with a red mesh around). The integrated electronics on the vertical breadboard is the user provided THz source. The microfocus continuous X-ray source is behind the THz source breadboard, the end of the optics stick out between the board and the goniometer. Finally there is out Eiger X 1M detector. In this experiment the X-ray source runs continuously and the THz is triggered by the Eiger so that it takes every second frame with the THz off and the other with the THz on.