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Observing concentration variations during crystal growth
(Molecular Physics Division)
X-Ray diffraction is one of the most important methods used to solve the structure of large biological molecules, such as proteins. In biochemistry and pharmaceutical sciences a thorough knowledge of the structure of proteins is vital because of the high structure-function relationship. Thus the production of high quality protein crystals is essential.
The growth process is governed by many physical factors such as mass transport and solution flow. The quality of the crystals is usually better under diffusion-limited growth conditions, where a depleted zone of the solution encapsulates the crystal.
During my master research project at the department of solid state chemistry we developed a Mach-Zehnder interferometry-based method, including data processing and analysis routines to monitor the concentration changes and the development of this depletion zone during crystal growth. In this talk I intend to focus on crystal growth, and growth conditions and how we applied our Mach-Zehnder based experiments and numerical simulations to monitor the concentration variations in order to find optimal growth conditions.