Infoscience

Journal article

Serial snapshot crystallography for materials science with SwissFEL

New opportunities for studying (sub) microcrystalline materials with small unit cells, both organic and inorganic, will open up when the X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) presently being constructed in Switzerland (SwissFEL) comes online in 2017. Our synchrotron-based experiments mimicking the 4%-energy-bandpass mode of the SwissFEL beam show that it will be possible to record a diffraction pattern of up to 10 randomly oriented crystals in a single snapshot, to index the resulting reflections, and to extract their intensities reliably. The crystals are destroyed with each XFEL pulse, but by combining snapshots from several sets of crystals, a complete set of data can be assembled, and crystal structures of materials that are difficult to analyze otherwise will become accessible. Even with a single shot, at least a partial analysis of the crystal structure will be possible, and with 10-50 femtosecond pulses, this offers tantalizing possibilities for time-resolved studies.

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