Bruker Launches the METALJET Microfocus X-ray Source for Structural Biology Applications

19 Nov 2012
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Bruker has launched the METALJET™, a novel and extremely bright microfocus X-ray source for structural biology applications. The new product was launched at the 2012 triennial International Small-Angle Scattering Conference. The unique METALJET is now offered exclusively by Bruker as a source option for D8 Venture™ protein crystallography systems and for Nanostar™ Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) systems.

The METALJET source for Bruker structural biology systems was developed in collaboration with Excillum AB and Incoatec GmbH as the most intense home-lab microfocus X-ray source available today outside of synchrotron beamlines. This revolutionary new liquid metal source technology is well suited to meet the ever-increasing demands of modern structural biology, and particularly of protein crystallography and of small angle X-ray scattering.

Just like conventional rotating anode generators and microfocus sources, the METALJET uses the impact of electrons onto a metal target to generate X-rays. However, the solid anode of conventional generators is replaced by a high-speed jet of liquid metal that can accept a much higher power load. The result is an X-ray beam that is brighter than what is currently achievable with the most powerful laboratory X-ray sources.

The transmission and delivery of such a small X-ray beam also requires technical innovations in the design of X-ray optics, since a smaller X-ray source requires greater precision during the deposition process of the multilayers for X-ray mirrors. The new HELIOS MXTM X-ray optics, developed by Incoatec for the METALJET, transmits the X-rays to the crystal sample in a uniformly small diameter, greatly exceeding the intensity of traditional X-ray sources.

Despite this unparalleled analytical performance, the new METALJET source also features a cost of ownership that is very competitive with conventional rotating anode sources.

The unprecedented brightness of the new METALJET source will allow researchers to bring into the home lab many experiments that previously could only be accomplished at a synchrotron. The METALJET enables structural biologists to collect data on smaller, more weakly-diffracting crystals, improving home-lab productivity more than ever before.

Oscar Hemberg, PhD, the CEO of Excillum AB, said: “We are very proud that Excillum’s liquid-metal-jet-anode X-ray source technology now will be introduced to Bruker’s customers after two years of intense product development and thorough internal evaluations at Bruker.”

Dr. Vernon Smith, Business Development Manager for Structural Biology at Bruker AXS, stated: “Adding the METALJET to our D8 VENTURE and NANOSTAR systems tremendously strengthens our position in the high-end structural biology market. Our customers need cutting-edge tools for their demanding research projects. Introducing the best-performing X-ray source for the home lab underlines our commitment to meet our customers’ demands and to be at the forefront of technology.”

Professor Tim Salditt of the University of Goettingen, Germany, added: “I was the first customer of a METALJET X-ray source back in 2009, and I must say that in addition to the obvious benefits of the extreme brightness of the source I am very impressed with the stability, reliability and ease of use of the technology.”

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