Data Collection FAQ

Diffraction pattern of RA-61
Diffraction pattern of RA-61 Image by Lindsey Doyle

What is the current ALS schedule?


Please contact Lindsey Doyle ( to be added to the e-mail list

  • BL 5.0.1    September 30    2pm-2am   
  • BL 5.0.2    October 21         2pm-2am  
  • BL 5.0.1    November 19    10am-10pm    
  • BL 5.0.2    December 10    10am-10pm 

When do crystals ship out for ALS?


Two days before data collection (i.e. if data collection is on a Thursday then crystals will ship out on Tuesday). Crystals must be loaded into the shipping dewar by 2:30 pm.

How do I shut down the home source X-rays in an emergency?


Hit the large, red EMERGENCY button on the generator’s front panel

How do I schedule time on the home source?


Sign up on the white boards in the X-ray suite (B3-170).

What is the wavelength of the home source?



How should I reference the home source equipment for publication and/or structure deposition?

  • Detectors: Saturn 944+ CCD and R-AXIS 4++ Image Plate
  • Generator: MicroMax – 007HF with a CuKa rotating anode
  • Optics: VariMax HF optics (Saturn) and VariMax HR optics (R-AXIS)

How do I ramp up/down home source X-rays?

  • On the PC that controls the R-AXIS 4++: Double click on the -XRay Generator- icon. From -Instrument- pulldown menu, choose --> XGScript Tool.
  • To ramp Xrays up quickly (when the vacuum is stable, this is ok) – choose MM007HFCuRampUpfast.xgr, and hit -Run-.
  • To ramp Xrays up slowly (this is gentler on the system) - choose MM007HFCuRampUp.xgr , and hit -Run-.
  • To ramp Xrays down - choose MM007HFCuRampDown.xgr , and hit -Run-.
  • DO NOT EXCEED 40 kV/30 mA!

I’ve turned on the Helium Compressor, but the temperature isn’t going down

  • On the PC in the X-ray enclosure, go to the AniWin window. Click the “Now” button on the right side to get an updated temperature.
  • If, after clicking “Now”, the temperature really isn’t going down let Lindsey in B3-175 know.

There’s a blank image where my diffraction should be

  • If there’s no shadow for the beam stop then the shutter didn’t open. Check to make sure the interlock is engaged.
  • If there’s a very faint shadow for the beam stop check to make sure X-rays are ramped up to 40 kV/30 mA.
  • If there’s a full shadow for the beam stop then your crystal didn’t diffract. Sorry.

The PC is telling me there’s not enough room to collect a dataset


Users have not been removing their data files. Check with other user to see if they can remove any files. Let Lindsey know so she can schedule a purge.

How do I collect data at 4°C?


Using the PC in the X-ray enclosure, go to the AnaWin toolbar. Select ChannelSetup, and then Channel Parameters. Set channel1 (nozzle) to 4°C. Don't change channel2(pre-nozzle). Leave it at its preset. CHANGE IT BACK WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED!!!!

We’re out of liquid nitrogen


Call AirGas at 1-800-224-7427, press 2. Our customer number is 2336490.

The cold nozzle is leaking liquid N2 and/or has an irregular flow


Turn the helium compressor off overnight (Big Green button on Helium compressor, not the smaller control box)

The R-AXIS 4++ is stuck and/or confused


Restart CrystalClear. If this doesn't work, restart the PC. If this doesn't work, shutdown both the PC and controller (blue box behind panel, under 4++). Leave controller off for ~15minutes, so capacitors lose charge. Restart.

The Helium alarm is going off in the X-ray room


Press the black “Silence Alarm” button on the control panel next to the Helium tanks on the back wall. Let Lindsey know.

There’s a REALLY loud alarm coming from the back closet


That’s the cold-water alarm on the Haskris. Let Lindsey in B3-175 know (or Peter in B3-177 if Lindsey isn’t around).

I opened the sliding plastic door of the X-ray enclosure while the shutter was open and breached the interlock


Open the front swing door of the generator (below the control panel). Use a phillips head screwdriver to open the plexiglass window. Hit the reset button.

I hit the emergency shut-down button


Pull out the reset button and turn it clockwise. Turn the power on. Once the run lamp is on and the vacuum is stable, turn on the X-rays and dial them up.