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The overall signal-to-noise ratio per unit dose for X-ray diffraction data from protein crystals can be improved by reducing the mass and density of all material surrounding the crystals. This article demonstrates a path towards the practical ultimate in background reduction by use of atomically thin graphene sheets as a crystal mounting platform for protein crystals. The results show the potential for graphene in protein crystallography and other cases where X-ray scatter from the mounting material must be reduced and specimen dehydration prevented, such as in coherent X-ray diffraction imaging of microscopic objects.

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