status updates

Dewar Recovery

Sometimes, a dewar arrives warm and without any visible or noticeable breaks in any of the common breakpoints, such as the neck.  In these situations, it is possible that the vacuum has been lost on the dewar over time, preventing it from holding temperature.  NE-CAT can check the integrity of the vacuum by pumping down the dewar, then, while the dewar is under vacuum, Ed Lynch flows helium gas over the outside of the vacuum vessel, especially at the seams.

EIGER2 X Detector Repairs

At the start up of operations for the 2021-2 run, it was discovered that one of the cards which aggregates data from multiple modules in the EIGER2 detector on 24-ID-C was faulty.  As a result, NE-CAT was forced to reschedule all users on 24-ID-C for the first week of user operations.  However, Dectris was able to immediately send us a replacement part which was successfully installed by Ed Lynch, Jim Withrow, and Malcolm Capel.  Replacing the card did require removal of the EIGER2 from the 24-ID-C A-frame and its subsequent re-installation.

EIGER2 X has arrived!

The first EIGER2 X 16M in the United States has arrived safely at NE-CAT.  This is the largest detector in the EIGER2 line with a 75 x 75 μm pixel and 18,093,576 pixels.  It will provide rapid and accurate photon counting. Pascal Hofer and Zachary Brown from Dectris are on-site for initial testing of the detector in the dry lab.  We can report that all 32 modules are alive.

April News

Grant Awarded

On April 1, 2013, NE-CAT received word that the NIGMS Advisory Council had recommended that our grant be funded in full.  Though we are still subject to sequestration, we will be the “NE-CAT Center for Advanced Macromolecular Crystallography” for the next five years.

Winter Status Update

The 2013-1 run is in progress. On the surface, the NE-CAT beamlines look the same to the casual user. However, during the January shutdown, the control software for the MD2 underwent a major change. In collaboration with LS-CAT (Keith Briester), Malcolm has implemented a new software that controls the MD2 microdiffractometer by communicating directly to the Delta-Tau PMAC system (PMAC - Programmable Multi-Axis Controller) rather than through a COM server connected to the MD2 software provided by Maatel.

November Status Update

NIH Site Visit

On November 8th, the site-visit for NE-CAT's P41 grant application to NIGMS took place.  Reviewers were presented with short talks on our three Technology Research and Development (TR&D) Projects, PIs of the Driving Biomedical Projects for each of our TR&Ds spoke on the importance of NE-CAT to their research, and the reviewers were given a tour of the facility.

August Status Updates

Remote Data Collection

Testing of Remote Data Collection by select members of our user community continued throughout August.  These tests have enabled us to increase the stability of the remote data collection software. Currently, we plan to make remote data collection available on 24-ID-E beamline during the 2012-3 run.


APS Upgrade

May Status Update

Drying Oven

For those of you who came to NE-CAT in April, you may have noticed the new oven out on the beamline next to the C work area.  This oven is for drying cryopucks and any equipment associated using cryopucks.  This is intended to prevent melting of the Styrofoam transfer containers and make puck drying more efficient.  Be careful using the oven, as it is very hot!  Cryopucks placed inside will be dry within 30 minutes.

PILATUS-6MF Site Visit

At the beginning of March, it was noticed that at certain energies, the background was elevated in one module of the PILATUS-6MF.  A site visit from Dectris was scheduled for module replacement at the end of the month.  During the visit, it was found that the module had a loose connection.  The connector was replaced, solving the elevated background issue, but the module was not changed.  In addition, during the site visit, we received new software for the PILATUS-6MF which eliminates the 3 second shutterless exposure limit.

January Status Update

NIH establishes NCATS and dissolves NCRR

As a part the NIH plan to start a new center on translational medicine (NCATS), as of December 23, 2011, NCRR has been dissolved by order of Congress and the President of the United States.   With the cessation of NCRR, NE-CAT has been transferred to the new Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).

PILATUS-6MF installation on 24-ID-C

November Status Update

Hardware has been built and software has been written to integrate the PILATUS-6MF with the beamline.  Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the PILATUS-6MF was temporarily installed on 24-ID-C to test the hardware and software.  The PILATUS was tested for 2 days.  Data collection was performed in both shutterless and shuttered modes.  Initial tests show almost no background, excellent statistics, and the possibility to detect crystal diffraction at higher resolution with lower x-ray dose.