Droplet streams for serial crystallography of proteins

Uwe Weierstall, R. B. Doak, John Spence, D. Starodub, D. Shapiro, P. Kennedy, J. Warner, G. G. Hembree, Petra Fromme, H. N. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Serial diffraction of proteins requires an injection method to deliver analyte molecules-preferably uncharged, fully hydrated, spatially oriented, and with high flux-into a focused probe beam of electrons or X-rays that is only a few tens of microns in diameter. This work examines conventional Rayleigh sources and electrospray-assisted Rayleigh sources as to their suitability for this task. A comparison is made and conclusions drawn on the basis of time-resolved optical images of the droplet streams produced by these sources. Straight-line periodic streams of monodisperse droplets were generated with both sources, achieving droplet diameters of 4 and 1 micrometer, respectively, for the conventional and electrospray-assisted versions. Shrinkage of droplets by evaporation is discussed and quantified. It is shown experimentally that proteins pass undamaged through a conventional Rayleigh droplet source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-689
Number of pages15
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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