Time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography at the European XFEL

Suraj Pandey, Richard Bean, Tokushi Sato, Ishwor Poudyal, Johan Bielecki, Jorvani Cruz Villarreal, Oleksandr Yefanov, Valerio Mariani, Thomas A. White, Christopher Kupitz, Mark Hunter, Mohamed H. Abdellatif, Saša Bajt, Valerii Bondar, Austin Echelmeier, Diandra Doppler, Moritz Emons, Matthias Frank, Raimund Fromme, Yaroslav GevorkovGabriele Giovanetti, Man Jiang, Daihyun Kim, Yoonhee Kim, Henry Kirkwood, Anna Klimovskaia, Juraj Knoska, Faisal H.M. Koua, Romain Letrun, Stella Lisova, Luis Maia, Victoria Mazalova, Domingo Meza, Thomas Michelat, Abbas Ourmazd, Guido Palmer, Marco Ramilli, Robin Schubert, Peter Schwander, Alessandro Silenzi, Jolanta Sztuk-Dambietz, Alexandra Tolstikova, Henry N. Chapman, Alexandra Ros, Anton Barty, Petra Fromme, Adrian P. Mancuso, Marius Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The European XFEL (EuXFEL) is a 3.4-km long X-ray source, which produces femtosecond, ultrabrilliant and spatially coherent X-ray pulses at megahertz (MHz) repetition rates. This X-ray source has been designed to enable the observation of ultrafast processes with near-atomic spatial resolution. Time-resolved crystallographic investigations on biological macromolecules belong to an important class of experiments that explore fundamental and functional structural displacements in these molecules. Due to the unusual MHz X-ray pulse structure at the EuXFEL, these experiments are challenging. Here, we demonstrate how a biological reaction can be followed on ultrafast timescales at the EuXFEL. We investigate the picosecond time range in the photocycle of photoactive yellow protein (PYP) with MHz X-ray pulse rates. We show that difference electron density maps of excellent quality can be obtained. The results connect the previously explored femtosecond PYP dynamics to timescales accessible at synchrotrons. This opens the door to a wide range of time-resolved studies at the EuXFEL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalNature Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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