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The XBI BioLab for life science experiments at the European XFEL

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  • Huijong Han, European XFEL GmbH, Hamburg , University of Oulu
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  • Ekaterina Round, European Molecular Biology Laboratory
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  • Robin Schubert, European XFEL GmbH, Hamburg , University of Hamburg
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  • Yasmin Gül, European Molecular Biology Laboratory
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  • Jana Makroczyová, European XFEL GmbH, Hamburg , Slovak Academy of Sciences
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  • Domingo Meza, Arizona State University
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  • Philipp Heuser, European Molecular Biology Laboratory
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  • Martin Aepfelbacher, University of Hamburg
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  • Imrich Barák, Slovak Academy of Sciences
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  • Christian Betzel, University of Hamburg
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  • Petra Fromme, Arizona State University
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  • Inari Kursula, University of Oulu, University of Bergen
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  • Poul Nissen
  • Elena Tereschenko, Russian Academy of Sciences
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  • Joachim Schulz, European XFEL GmbH, Hamburg
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  • Charlotte Uetrecht, European XFEL GmbH, Hamburg , Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology
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  • Jozef Ulicný, P. J. Šafárik University
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  • Matthias Wilmanns, European Molecular Biology Laboratory
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  • Janos Hajdu, Czech Academy of Sciences, Uppsala University
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  • Victor S Lamzin, European Molecular Biology Laboratory
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  • Kristina Lorenzen, European XFEL GmbH, Hamburg

The science of X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) critically depends on the performance of the X-ray laser and on the quality of the samples placed into the X-ray beam. The stability of biological samples is limited and key biomolecular transformations occur on short timescales. Experiments in biology require a support laboratory in the immediate vicinity of the beamlines. The XBI BioLab of the European XFEL (XBI denotes XFEL Biology Infrastructure) is an integrated user facility connected to the beamlines for supporting a wide range of biological experiments. The laboratory was financed and built by a collaboration between the European XFEL and the XBI User Consortium, whose members come from Finland, Germany, the Slovak Republic, Sweden and the USA, with observers from Denmark and the Russian Federation. Arranged around a central wet laboratory, the XBI BioLab provides facilities for sample preparation and scoring, laboratories for growing prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, a Bio Safety Level 2 laboratory, sample purification and characterization facilities, a crystallization laboratory, an anaerobic laboratory, an aerosol laboratory, a vacuum laboratory for injector tests, and laboratories for optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy and electron microscopy. Here, an overview of the XBI facility is given and some of the results of the first user experiments are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Crystallography
IssuePart 1
Pages (from-to)7-21
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note


    Research areas

  • European XFEL (EuXFEL), XBI Laboratory, coherent diffractive imaging (CDI), free-electron lasers (XFELs), sample preparation and characterization., serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX), singleparticle imaging (SPI), structural biology, time-resolved experiments

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