MICRO-PATTERNED Silicon Chip for macromolecular Crystallography

Silicon Chip sample holders

For serial crystallography experiments at LABORATORY sources, synchrotrons and XFELs

A critical parameter in diffraction experiments is the signal-to-noise ratio and the related achievable resolution. Our silicon chips allow performing diffraction experiments with minimal background scattering levels. Depending on size and geometry of the chips, they can hold up 200 000 microcrystals for serial crystallography experiments. Thanks to the use of monocrystalline silicon substrate the chips themselves do not contribute to any background scattering except for positions at Bragg reflections at resolutions below 3.2 Å. The pore structure further allows highly efficient removal of excess liquid by blotting. As a consequence, diffraction results obtained with our chips are typically of higher quality than achievable with conventional loop mounting.

Application areas

Serial crystallography experiments at room temperature and cryogenic temperatures On-chip crystallization for data collection from highly sensitive crystals Pharmaceutical screening experiments with on-chip co-crystallization with compounds or on-chip fragment soaking. 
Conventional single-crystal X-ray data collection from large crystals in combination with a humidity sleeve

Tailored to your needs

We can manufacture the chip according to your needs. Membrane thickness, pore size and chip surface area can be fully customized to your requirements. We have extensive experience with diffraction experiments and are happy to consult with you to reach an optimal design.

Integration into the suna ecosystem

Ideally suited for high-speed fixed target serial crystallography in combination with the Roadrunner goniometer
Well combinable with our humidity generator HG-1 for the exploration of relative humidity and temperature as additional environmental parameters in X-ray crystallography.



Picture on the left side: “X-ray background level originating from the silicon chip” by Roedig, P. et al.,
licensed under CC BY 4.0. Source: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep10451/figures/3

Reference: Roedig, P. et al. A micro-patterned silicon chip as sample holder for macromolecular crystallography experiments with minimal background scattering. Sci. Rep. 5, 10451; doi: 10.1038/srep10451 (2015). Picture on the right side: „Sample loading procedure“ by Roedig, P. et al., licensed under CC BY 4.0 / Desaturated from original

Crystal loading principle

A – The mother liquor is pipetted on the chip and fills

       the microchannels on the front-side of the chip


B – A small wedge of filter paper touches the lower 

       side of the chip


C – The filter paper soaks off the liquid through 

       the micro channels


D – Crystals with sizes larger than the pores are 

       retained and arrange themselves in a periodic 

       way according to the pore structure of the chip


E – The filter paper is removed from the lower side 

       of the chip


F – The crystals on the chip are flash-frozen 

       in liquid nitrogen


During the sample loading process, the chip is placed in a continuous stream of air with a controlled degree of humidity.