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Useful Tips and Information:

Some suggestions to help make your visit, in-person or remote, a little bit easier...


For Both Local and Remote Users

DOT Regulations

Familiarize yourself with, and adhere to, all relevant safety regulations regarding your shipments to SBC-CAT.


This includes all Department of Transport (DOT) regulations.


Most Users find it easiest to ship their samples via FedEx, and have them shipped over-night delivery.

Fluorescence Scans

Fluorescence scans are required to determine the optimal wavelength(s) for MAD/SAD data collections on a particular crystalline sample.


If possible, it is advisable to bring along poor quality selenomethione or heavy-atom soaked crystals, and use these samples for the fluorescence scans; this will allow for determination of the appropriate wavelength(s) without compromising the quality of your final data collections from your best crystals.


Schedule Beamtime in Shifts

Both 19ID and 19BM beamlines at SBC-CAT can prove exhausting for experimenters.


Either beamline will typically collect a full data set in roughly 30-60 minutes. This includes all steps of the process – mounting the crystal on the goniostat head in the experimental hutch, aligning the crystal in the cameras, predicting the best data collection strategy, as well as the actual data collection and data processing itself.


It is usually most efficient if over-lapping shifts of experimenters are manned by alternating groups of people, thus allowing for communication between the groups, as well as food, sleep, and a break in the action.


Samples on Canes

It is recommended that canes holding vials be shipped inside protective plastic sleeves.


During transport, it is possible for unprotected pins to drop out of magnetic-ring vials, and into the bottom of the shipping basket.


Loss of samples is usually severe, if not complete, under these conditions.

If You Are Traveling to SBC

Pack for Comfort

If you are going to be traveling to SBC, pack for comfort.


Chicago can be cold during the winter; humidity at the beamlines routinely drops to low single-digits, and the dry environment can be very uncomfortable when you are exposed to it for several hours per day.


It is a advisable to bring along eye drops and nasal spray, as well as warm winter clothing.


A good pair of comfortable athletic shoes will prove invaluable for long hours of working on the hard, concrete floors at APS.


For safety reasons, open-toed shoes, open-heeled shoes and shorts are not permitted attire while working at the beamlines.

Plan Your Trip Carefully

When planning your stay at SBC-CAT, be aware that User Groups may fall behind in processing data, preferring instead to direct their energies towards the most efficient collection and backup of data images.


You will be scheduled for approximately one day of computer processing time, after your beamline access time ends.


This extra day gives you an opportunity to clean up your work-bench area in the biochemistry lab, re-pack your belongings, verify your data backups – and possibly catch up on some sleep and food before you hit the road.