Challenging scientific questions in structural biology using crystallography.

MicroMAX is an expansion to the MAX IV Laboratory, a Swedish national X-ray synchrotron research infrastructure hosted by Lund University in Sweden.

MicroMax adds a new advanced-technology X-ray beamline to MAX IV. The new beamline is the world’s most advanced of its type and will enable scientists to study proteins at room temperature and in a near-native environment, which is a fundamental step forward in understanding how proteins function in our bodies. MicroMAX will also make it possible to study much smaller protein crystals than before, bringing many uncharacterized, “hard-to-crystallize” proteins into play for structural analyses.

MicroMAX will produce X-rays in a highly intense microscopic beam with a diameter equivalent to about one fiftieth the diameter of a human hair. When the beam strikes a sample, the scattered beam continues to a detector that provides information on the structure of a protein down to the atomic level. By mapping the structures of proteins, scientists will have a better opportunity to understand the key biological questions related to health and disease and to use this knowledge to create new types of drugs.

The MAX IV 3 GeV storage ring

MicroMAX relies on the exceptional performance of the MAX IV 3 GeV storage ring and a unique and flexible beamline design to provide new tools to study the most challenging scientific questions in structural biology using crystallography. MicroMAX will allow crystals a millionth of a meter to be studied with a new method called serial crystallography. By using thousands of microcrystals, it is possible to circumvent radiation damage that would prevent such small samples to be studied using normal crystallography. MicroMAX will also make it possible to study reactions as they happen in these crystals.

Access to MicroMAX

MicroMAX will be open to all researchers with interesting and important scientific projects. Access will be granted based on open calls and scientific criteria. MicroMAX will also serve as a training centre in structural biology techniques and offer opportunities for young students to get acquainted with and be inspired by modern life-science research.

MicroMAX will serve a broad range of researchers throughout Denmark and internationally. It therefore has great potential to form the basis for outstanding research and innovative discoveries that will expand the frontiers of structural biology globally. MicroMAX is expected to open for users in 2022.

About MAX IV

MAX IV Laboratory, a Swedish national research infrastructure hosted by Lund University, is a user facility that supports science by providing researchers from a wide range of scientific fields with access to unique and advanced synchrotron radiation instrumentation and methods. MAX IV has significant experience in designing, constructing and operating synchrotron radiation facilities and related equipment. The MAX IV 3 GeV storage ring has unique properties in terms of brilliance and coherence. These characteristics offer significant opportunities for constructing and operating unique beamlines that can be used to describe materials within the natural and technological sciences.

Read more on the MAX IV website.