Direct phasing in femtosecond nanocrystallography. I. Diffraction characteristics

Joe P J Chen, John Spence, Rick P. Millane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


X-ray free-electron lasers solve a number of difficulties in protein crystallography by providing intense but ultra-short pulses of X-rays, allowing collection of useful diffraction data from nanocrystals. Whereas the diffraction from large crystals corresponds only to samples of the Fourier amplitude of the molecular transform at the Bragg peaks, diffraction from very small crystals allows measurement of the diffraction amplitudes between the Bragg samples. Although highly attenuated, these additional samples offer the possibility of iterative phase retrieval without the use of ancillary experimental data [Spence et al. (2011). Opt. Express, 19, 2866-2873]. This first of a series of two papers examines in detail the characteristics of diffraction patterns from collections of nanocrystals, estimation of the molecular transform and the noise characteristics of the measurements. The second paper [Chen et al. (2014). Acta Cryst. A70, 154-161] examines iterative phase-retrieval methods for reconstructing molecular structures in the presence of the variable noise levels in such data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-153
Number of pages11
JournalActa Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Direct phasing
  • Femtosecond nanocrystallography
  • Nanocrystals
  • Shape transform
  • X-ray free-electron lasers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Direct phasing in femtosecond nanocrystallography. I. Diffraction characteristics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this