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A novel device for capillary-free mounting of protein crystals is described. A controlled stream of air allows an accurate adjustment of the humidity at the crystal. The crystal is held on the tip of a micropipette. With a video system (CCD camera), the two-dimensional shadow projections of crystals can be recorded for optical analysis. Instead of the micropipette, a standard loop can also be used. Experiments and results for different crystal systems demonstrate the use of this method, also in combination with shock-freezing, to improve crystal order. Working with oxygen-free gases offers the possibility of crystal measurements under anaerobic conditions. Furthermore, the controlled application of arbitrary volatile substances with the gas stream is practicable.

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