Accounting for partiality in serial crystallography using ray-tracing principles

Loes M. J. Kroon-Batenburg*, Antoine M. M. Schreurs, Raimond B. G. Ravelli, Piet Gros

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Serial crystallography generates 'still' diffraction data sets that are composed of single diffraction images obtained from a large number of crystals arbitrarily oriented in the X-ray beam. Estimation of the reflection partialities, which accounts for the expected observed fractions of diffraction intensities, has so far been problematic. In this paper, a method is derived for modelling the partialities by making use of the ray-tracing diffraction-integration method EVAL. The method estimates partialities based on crystal mosaicity, beam divergence, wavelength dispersion, crystal size and the interference function, accounting for crystallite size. It is shown that modelling of each reflection by a distribution of interference-function weighted rays yields a 'still' Lorentz factor. Still data are compared with a conventional rotation data set collected from a single lysozyme crystal. Overall, the presented still integration method improves the data quality markedly. The R factor of the still data compared with the rotation data decreases from 26% using a Monte Carlo approach to 12% after applying the Lorentz correction, to 5.3% when estimating partialities by EVAL and finally to 4.7% after post-refinement. The merging R-int factor of the still data improves from 105 to 56% but remains high. This suggests that the accuracy of the model parameters could be further improved. However, with a multiplicity of around 40 and an R-int of similar to 50% the merged still data approximate the quality of the rotation data. The presented integration method suitably accounts for the partiality of the observed intensities in still diffraction data, which is a critical step to improve data quality in serial crystallography.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1799-1811
JournalActa Crystallographica. Section D: Structural Biology
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • serial crystallography
  • EVAL
  • partiality of still data


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