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A method for mounting single crystals in macromolecular crystallographic studies is described in which the crystal is suspended in a thin film. The film is formed from a mixture of the crystallization buffer and a hydrophilic viscous material, confined within a thin-wire loop by surface tension. Compared with conventional crystal mounting methods, this method greatly simplifies and speeds the mounting procedure, is well suited to shock freezing and to optical monitoring of the crystals, deforms fragile crystals less and gives a lower and more uniform background in the X-ray diffraction patterns.
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