The icOS Lab (previously known as the Cryobench) is dedicated to various types of optical spectroscopy experiments on macromolecular crystals. The central device of the lab is a microspectrophotometer that allows to measure UV/vis absorption, fluorescence, or Raman spectra of protein crystals (or nanoliters of solutions). The lab is being run in the context of a close collaboration between the ESRF and the Institut de Biologie Structurale (IBS), and is one of the platforms of the Partnership for Structural Biology (PSB).

A training course in complementary optical spectroscopies in macromolecular crystallography (COSMX2012) was held at the ESRF in September 2012.


Click here for a list of Cryobench-related publications. Reference papers to be cited in your publications about Cryobench experiments are given here, as well as the Local Contact policy at the Cryobench.

Spectroscopic Methods

The Cryobench laboratory offers...

...of protein crystals mounted on a goniometer between three objectives, usually cooled by a cryogenic stream.

Additionally, it is possible to perform spectroscopic experiments directly at X-ray beamlines:

For typical experiments in this lab, standard protocols have been defined (intranet only). Suggestions for solving some frequent problems which you may encounter during your experiment can be found here.

Make sure that you know the safety regulations before coming to the Cryobench lab!


Equipment which is available for such experiments includes:

For most pieces of equipment, manuals or datasheets are available (intranet only).


Click here for contact information.

Beamtime applications

Click here to find out how to apply for experiments at the Cryobench lab.