How to book MX mail-in (FX) experiment - Detailed instructions


MX mail-in (FX) Experiment: a macromolecular crystallography experiment where ESRF staff carry out the experiment. 

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Setting up your experiment

Step 1: Contact the BDO for a quotation for the work to be carried out, then sign and return the quotation.

Step 2: Contact the MX team to obtain an experiment date.

Step 3 (only to be done once): Complete and submit your Beamtime Application Form to generate an experiment number of the type FX-## (some help on FX experiments is provided here)

Step 4: An email will be sent to you confirming your password for further logins onto the SMIS system (user_name, password1).  A formal Invitation will also be sent to you via email with the details of the experiment (date, beamline, crystallographer name) and how to send your dewar.

Step 5: Once the information is validated by ESRF, a second password will be sent to you via email, usually the following day, to access our LIMS system “ISPYB” and to access your data through SFTP (FX-##, password2).

Step 6: Submit a sample safety sheet for each protein you plan to ship to us, using your login (user_name, password1).  Detailed information on sample sheets can be found here.

NOTE: Once you have been through the whole procedure once, further experiments will be much easier regarding the setting up of your experiment since only steps 2 and 6 (only if you ship new proteins) will be necessary.

Preparing and sending your samples

Step 1: Prepare your samples using SPINE standard supports compatible with our sample changers ( more information on sample supports can be found here

(We can provide you with a kit for your first trial – don’t hesitate to ask for it)

Step 2: Ship your frozen samples in a dewar ( instructions on sending dewars are provided here) with printed labels coming from the ISPYB tracking system (log-in to ISPYB with (FX-##, password2))

Step 3: Fill in your dewar form in ISPYB. You’ll receive an automatic email when your samples arrive on site and when they’ll leave ESRF for your lab.

Following your MXpress experiments and getting your data

Step 1: You can follow your experiment through ISPYB if you wish to and interact with the crystallographer performing the experiment or wait for your report to be sent to you after the experiment is finished

Step 2: You can retrieve your data through SFTP using (FX-##, password2) as login and password as soon as images are written onto disk at ESRF. It is possible to provide you a backup shipped after the experiment (on only).

Step 3Inform the MX Industrial Services if you want more data or if you want the dewar to be returned to you.

Summary of systems and log-ins

  • SMIS : to submit your Application Form, to submit new Sample Sheets – login and password = (user_name, password1)

  • ISPYB : to create labels for your shipment and track your dewar along its transport to and from ESRF, to describe your requirements for the experiment (dewar form), to follow the experiment in real time – login and password = (FX-##, password2)

  • NICE account: where your data are stored. It can be accessed through SFTP - login and password = (FX-##, password2)