Macromolecular crystallography services

The ESRF has probably the widest suite of highly-automated macromolecular crystallography beamlines worldwide, and we provide a range of access choices to suit your approach:

  • Fully automated "hands-free" data collection service. This increasingly popular service is available through a queuing system on our MASSIF-1 beamline (ID30-A1), but can also be made available on other MX beamlines with other beam properties. The work flow includes precision X-ray-based centring to get the best data from the best part of the crystal.
  • Remote Access - ship your samples and collect data remotely from your own office. 
  • On-site shifts - buy beam time to perform your own experiments here, with the support of our local contact.

  • BioSAXS is small-angle scattering technique 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.

  • 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. 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.
  • CryoEM is used for protein structure determination with near-atomic resolution by single-particle imaging and serves as a complementary technique to macromolecular crystallography and BioSAXS. Our Titan Krios electron microscope is equipped with a GIF Quantum LS imaging filter coupled to a K2 Summit direct electron detector, and a Volta phase plate (VPP), and is a stunning piece of equipment on our super-stable experimental floor. Your experiments are performed by our experts.
  • 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, neutrons and more.

For more information and prices, please contact us.

Or go direct to How to book beamtime.


ESRF has a range of beamlines covering a spectrum of MX experiments.

Tuneable MX beamlines allowing energy tuning for MAD/SAD experiments

  • ID29
  • ID23-1
  • ID30B

MX Beamlines dedicated to the study of microcrystals (<10 μm)

  • ID23-2
  • ID30A-3

Fully automated fixed-energy MX beamline

  • ID30A-1

BIOSAXS beamline

  • BM29

CRYO-EM facility

  • CM01

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.




Our prices are available on request.

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 until 10pm 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 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