Macromolecular crystallography services

The ESRF has probably the best industrial synchrotron services for macromolecular crystallography worldwide. On highly automated and high-throughput beamlines, we offer the following services:

Logo MXpress

  • Our gold-standard mail-in MXpress service, with experiments carried out by our highly experienced scientists.

    Logo MXpressO
  • MXpressO for high-throughput data collection service for Macromolecular Crystallography Beamlines.  Previously reserved for our Best Clients, we are now pleased to offer this service to all our clients. For more information and prices, please contact us.

    Logo BioSAXS
  • BioSAXS is small-angle scattering that is a highly effective tool for determining the low-resolution molecular envelopes of biological molecules in solution.  It provides information about the size, shape and internal order of the scattering molecule. Our specialist industrial liaison scientists can help you find the best solution for your samples - don't hesitate to contact us.

  • Small molecule: single-crystal X-ray diffraction can be used to determine the atomic and molecular structure of small molecules. The ESRF's Small Molecule Crystallography Service provides for data collection and reduction as well as for complete structure determination. Crystals can be sent either pre-mounted or in crystallisation solutions. In the latter case, samples will be mounted by ESRF staff.  Data collection is carried out on the ESRF's Structural Biology Group beamlines using state-of-the-art experimental set-ups that include rapid readout detectors, kappa goniometers, micro beams and energy tunability.  Please contact us for more information.
  • Remote Access - ship your samples and collect data remotely. 
  • On-site shifts: buy beam time to perform your own experiments here, with the support of our local contact (How to book beamtime).

  • Other research services: we provide complete X-ray crystallographic services from construct design to refined coordinates. We provide an extensive work plan including milestones and deadlines with the client receiving regular reports and updates. Other services are provided through our collaborative partners, including access to MS, crystallisation robots, NMR and more. Please contact us for further information.


There are 4 beamlines on which MX experiment can be performed at the ESRF.

Tuneable beamlines dedicated to MAD experiments

  • ID29
  • ID23-1

Beamline dedicated to experiments on microcrystals (about 10 μm)

For technical questions, please consult these beamline web pages and Contact us.


  • There are 5 runs per year and 2 shutdown periods. Please see our yearly operation schedule overviews and half-yearly schedules of operation modes, as well as a description of the different operating modes at which the synchroton runs.
  • Each of the five runs is scheduled about 6 weeks before it begins.
  • A shift is equivalent to 8 hours.
  • However some days are kept aside within the run for shorter experiments.
  • Please contact us with details of:
    • the period during which you would like to perform your experiment
    • the number of shifts you would need
    • the type of experiment you intend to do

Feel free to contact us even during a run since the schedule is evolving constantly.

Humidity Control device (HC1)

The Humidity Control device (HC1) from the Diffraction instrumentation group at the EMBL provides an easy-to-use dehydration setup that can be used in conjunction with the world class MX beamlines at the ESRF.  For further information, read the ID14-2 beamline web pages. 


Our prices are available on request. The prices are dependent on the type of beam time, that is, the various operation modes at which the synchrotron runs and whether the beamline you select is a high intensity or a fixed wavelength beamline.

Safety aspects

Once a date has been agreed for your experiment, safety aspects will have to be dealt with. You will find more information in the safety section of our web pages. For IX and FX experiments, sample sheets need to be submitted via the web - detailed information on how to fill in the sample sheet is available.


  • Beamline operation assistance from 08h to 22h is included in the price. A local contact is assigned for the beamline set up and beamline assistance.
  • Crystallographic expertise at 175 €/hour is also available for non-crystallographers or for difficult MAD experiments, but please make sure you mention this before coming to the ESRF so that we can take your request into account.
  • There is also the possibility of sending in samples by courier service. Please see our MXpress data collection service.

Once your experiment is finished, you may report to us with any comments or suggestions to improve our service.

You'll find some help about how to prepare your experiment here