The development of an automated nano sampling handling system for nanometre protein crystallography experiments
Docker P., Axford D., Prince M., Cordovez B., Kay J., Stuart D., Evans G.
As the world's synchrotrons and X-FELs endeavour to meet the need to analyse ever-smaller protein crystals, there grows a requirement for a new technique to present nano-dimensional samples to the beam for X-ray diffraction experiments.The work presented here details developmental work to reconfigure the nano tweezer technology developed by Optofluidics (PA, USA) for the trapping of nano dimensional protein crystals for X-ray crystallography experiments. The system in its standard configuration is used to trap nano particles for optical microscopy. It uses silicon nitride laser waveguides that bridge a micro fluidic channel. These waveguides contain 180 nm apertures of enabling the system to use biologically compatible 1.6 micron wavelength laser light to trap nano dimensional biological samples. Using conventional laser tweezers, the wavelength required to trap such nano dimensional samples would destroy them. The system in its optical configuration has trapped protein molecules as small as 10 nanometres.