Precise Manipulation and Patterning of Protein Crystals for Macromolecular Crystallography Using Surface Acoustic Waves

Feng Guo, Weijie Zhou, Peng Li, Zhangming Mao, Neela H. Yennawar, Jarrod B. French, Tony Jun Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Advances in modern X-ray sources and detector technology have made it possible for crystallographers to collect usable data on crystals of only a few micrometers or less in size. Despite these developments, sample handling techniques have significantly lagged behind and often prevent the full realization of current beamline capabilities. In order to address this shortcoming, a surface acoustic wave-based method for manipulating and patterning crystals is developed. This method, which does not damage the fragile protein crystals, can precisely manipulate and pattern micrometer and submicrometer-sized crystals for data collection and screening. The technique is robust, inexpensive, and easy to implement. This method not only promises to significantly increase efficiency and throughput of both conventional and serial crystallography experiments, but will also make it possible to collect data on samples that were previously intractable. The increasing flux and decreasing beam size at X-ray sources has made data collection using crystals commonplace, necessitating automation of crystal manipulation and harvesting. An acoustic-based device for manipulating and patterning micrometer sized crystals is developed here. This robust, biocompatible and easy-to-implement technology will increase throughput, lower sample requirements and make data collection possible for previously intractable samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2733-2737
Number of pages5
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials


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