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Experiments are described in which a direct comparison was made between a conventional 2 kW water-cooled sealed-tube X-ray source and a 30 W air-cooled microfocus source with focusing multilayer optics, using the same goniometer, detector, radiation (Mo Kα), crystals and software. The beam characteristics of the two sources were analyzed and the quality of the resulting data sets compared. The Incoatec Microfocus Source (IµS) gave a narrow approximately Gaussian-shaped primary beam profile, whereas the Bruker AXS sealed-tube source, equipped with a graphite monochromator and a monocapillary collimator, had a broader beam with an approximate intensity plateau. Both sources were mounted on the same Bruker D8 goniometer with a SMART APEX II CCD detector and Bruker Kryoflex low-temperature device. Switching between sources simply required changing the software zero setting of the 2θ circle and could be performed in a few minutes, so it was possible to use the same crystal for both sources without changing its temperature or orientation. A representative cross section of compounds (organic, organometallic and salt) with and without heavy atoms was investigated. For each compound, two data sets, one from a small and one from a large crystal, were collected using each source. In another experiment, the data quality was compared for crystals of the same compound that had been chosen so that they had dimensions similar to the width of the beam. The data were processed and the structures refined using standard Bruker and SHELX software. The experiments show that the IµS gives superior data for small crystals whereas the diffracted intensities were comparable for the large crystals. Appropriate scaling is particularly important for the IµS data.

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CCDC references: 724643; 724644; 724645; 724646; 724647; 724648; 724649; 724650; 724651; 724652; 724653; 724654; 724655; 724656

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