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A new chip-based crystal-mounting approach for rapid room-temperature data collection from numerous crystals is described. This work was motivated by the recent development of X-ray free-electron lasers. These novel sources deliver very intense femtosecond X-ray pulses that promise to yield high-resolution diffraction data of nanocrystals before their destruction by radiation damage. Thus, the concept of `diffraction before destruction' requires rapid replenishment of the sample for each exposure. The chip promotes the self-assembly of an array of protein crystals on a surface. Rough features on the surface cause the crystals to adopt random orientations, allowing efficient sampling of reciprocal space.

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