Remote Access Data Collection: Automation and Robotics at the SSRL Protein Crystallography Beam Lines

July 17, 2014

Remote Access Data Collection: Automation and Robotics at the SSRL Protein Crystallography Beam Lines


This workshop will describe and demonstrate the fully remote accessible, state-of-the-art facilities at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) that are available to the general user community for macromolecular crystallography research. An intense micro-focus beamline, BL12-2, enables rapid “shutterless” data collection using very small crystals. UV-Vis microspectrometers are available at BL9-2 and BL11-1 to confirm the electronic state for metalloprotein complexes and poised intermediates and to monitor specific effects of radiation exposure. All SSRL beam lines offer advanced robotics for automated crystal quality screening.  

Up to 288 frozen crystals can be mounted by the beamline robot (the Stanford Automated Mounter, or SAM) and screened for diffraction quality in a matter of hours without intervention.  The best quality crystals can then be remounted for the collection of complete x-ray diffraction data sets.  Furthermore, the entire screening and data collection experiment can be controlled from the experimenter’s home laboratory by means of advanced software tools that enable network-based control of the highly automated beamlines. This remote capability is now available on all SSRL macromolecular crystallography beamlines.  During the last user run, over 97% of the user groups used the SAM robot and the remote access tools, some from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. The new technologies implemented at SSRL have eliminated the distinction between remote and local access to synchrotron resources.  

During this workshop, Aina Cohen will give an introduction the SSRL Macromolecular Crystallography Resource, and Clyde Smith will present a live remote access demonstration and connect to some SSRL beamlines to present the features accessible to remote users. Aina will also describe new state-of-the art capabilities for crystallography data collection at both SSRL and the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at SLAC.  There will be a practical component to the workshop whereby participants will be given instruction in the use of the tools available for the loading of SSRL cassettes and unipucks, and in the installation and setup of the NX client software used to connect to the SSRL computers during remote data collection.  Use of personal laptop is recommended.

Workshop will be presented by:
Dr. Aina Cohen and Dr. Clyde Smith
Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Registration Deadline is Tuesday, July 15, 2014