McMaster X-Ray Diffraction Facility

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The x-ray facility provides the necessary equipment and support for the undertaking of single crystal, liquid, solid or powder diffraction x-ray structural studies. Specifically, we provide instrumentation, training, and collaboration for:

  • Robotic protein crystallization

  • Single crystal x-ray diffraction

  • Small angle x-ray scattering


McMaster University

Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery (MDCL), Room 2219

1280 Main Street West

Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1


Catie Luck

Research Laboratory Technician


Office: MDCL 2321

Phone: 905-525-9140 ext. 22787


The McMaster X-ray Diffraction Facility has a Rigaku dual-port XRD system where the x-rays are produced using a rotating copper (Cu) anode. Single crystal diffraction measurements are taken using our R-Axis IV++ detector. Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) diffraction measurements for liquid, solid and powder samples are collected with our BioSAXS-1000 detector. Software we use for data collection are HKL-3000R R-Axis IV ++ (single crystal) and SAXSLab 3.1.0 (SAXS).

We also have the capability to grow crystals with our Art Robbins Gryphon Crystallization robot. It can provide up to 288 different crystallization conditions for crystal growth and optimization. Optimization screens can be built with our Art Robbins Scorpion Screen Builder/Liquid Handler.

R-Axis IV++ single crystal detector

BioSAXS-1000 detector

Gryphon Crystallization Robot

Scorpion Screen Builder


X-Ray Diffraction Measurements

We have staff on hand that can train users on all equipment and assist in the collection of data. Trained users will have access to the equipment and can book on a needed basis by contacting Catie Luck ( Untrained users who would like diffraction data collection for single crystal and SAXS samples can also contact to arrange sample pickup and go over project specifics. We provide all crystal mounts and loops, as well as liquid nitrogen for low temperature data collection. We also have a microscope for user use.

Protein Crystallization

Users can also be trained in the use of our Gryphon crystallization robot, which has the ability to set up small drop, volume screening trays. Users can set up a tray themselves or submit a Crystallization Tray Request Form to have a staff member set up a tray for you. Please contact Catie to arrange protein/sample pickup. We provide trays and crystallization screens. We also have room temperature and cold room (4C) imaging incubators and microscopes for use. Crystal screens currently available are:

Liquid Handling and Crystal Optimization

Our Art Robbins Scorpion Liquid Handler, a high speed single-channel pipettor, can make optimization screens and perform any function of a hand held pipettor with accuracy and reproducibility. The Scorpion can access 6 deck positions and can accommodate 15mL and 50mL tubes, standard (~127x85mm) plates, and tip racks. Available pipette tips include 50uL, 200uL and 1mL volumes.

User Fees

Please inquire directly for cost associated with training, instrument usage, and staff time.