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Dual Thickness MicroMounts


Dual Thickness MicroMounts

MicroMounts are the world's highest performance tools for retrieving and mounting protein crystals, virus crystals, and small molecule/inorganic crystals. They can be also used for handling small fragile samples including biological, archaeological and mineralogical samples. MicroMounts are compatible with all standard X-ray hardware, and can be inserted in 0.7 mm mechanical pencils for easy handling.

Micromounts consist of thin polymer tips attached to beveled non-magnetic 0.025" (0.64 mm) diameter stainless steel rods. Their patented design provides an excellent combination of X-ray and optical transparency, mechanical rigidity and flexibility, and precision dimensions.

The polymer tip is only 7.5-12.5 μm thick, less than half that of competing mounts, giving the lowest possible background X-ray scatter from the mount.

The polymer is unoriented, so the background scatter does not show the sharp peaks of competing mounts, and has the lowest possible birefringence.

Curving the tip by wrapping its base around the rod makes it rigid, and provides a scoop-like action in retrieving samples. The tip can also flex and bend flat against e.g., a well or glass slide, to dislodge and then slip under a sample.

A wicking aperture draws excess liquid away from the sample, reducing background scatter and allowing faster sample cooling for cryocrystallography.

Since 2008, MicroMounts (and all of our other products) have been made using the most mechanically robust unoriented polymer available. With proper care - especially during cleaning - each MicroMount can be used to harvest and measure dozens of crystals.

Extremely easy to use, novices can be mounting samples in minutes. MicroMounts make your crystallography pipeline more efficient by maximizing the odds of successful mounting, cooling and data collection.

Product Design

MicroMounts™ consist of a thin microfabricated polyimide film attached to a solid non-magnetic 0.025" (0.64 mm) stainless steel rod.

Used in Kapton® tape, which is employed for X-ray transparent windows on X-ray beam lines. Has low atomic number (Z) constituents and low density, and produces less background scatter than e.g., nylon. Optically transparent with an orange-gold hue.

Film Curvature:
Obtained by wrapping polyimide film around the steel rod. Provides excellent stiffness even with very thin (7.5 micrometer) films, and a convenient, scoop-like action in retrieving and handling samples.

Film Pattern

Sample aperture (A) sizes from 10 to 600 micrometers, with minimal polyimide width (B) around the aperture to minimize background scatter in all orientations.

Wicking hole (C) connected via drainage channel (D) to the sample aperture. Hole size is compatible with size 15 or XF paper wicks. "Fountain-pen"-like design allows easier removal of excess liquid - without ever touching the sample with the wick.

Alignment cross (E) located a fixed distance from the center of the sample aperture. Allows easy automated alignment of the sample aperture (A).

Sample aperture size code (F) around the alignment cross. Allows automated recognition of mount design and of aperture and sample size, which determines boundaries of aperture (to be avoided), required alignment tolerance, and area of sample available to be scanned for optimum diffraction. Initial beam size can then be automatically selected. Aperture size (G) in μm can be read directly off the mount. Orientation mark (H) allows the front and back of the mount to be automatically distinguished.


Solid 316 non-magnetic stainless steel rods. Diameter of 0.025" (0.64 mm) is compatible with all standard goniometer bases / caps, and can be inserted and held in 0.7 mm mechanical pencils. Rods will not be pulled out or trapped by magnets in tools or in automounting hardware. Available in four standard lengths: 11 mm, 19 mm, 17.6 (SPINE), and 25 mm. The 11, 19 and 25 mm rod lengths give rod base-to-sample center distances comparable to those of nylon loops mounted in 10, 18, and 24 mm rods, respectively. Custom rod lengths available on request.

Unlike competing mounts in hollow rods, our solid rods will not suck up samples and liquid.

Beveled at film end. Allows good visibility of the sample for a wider range of rod orientations during sample retrieval than unbeveled rods.

Can be cut using spring-steel-compatible pliers/cutters to any desired length. Can be easily bent to place sample in desired orientation. Fit all standard bases.


We also offer small (A1), medium (A2) and large (A3) aperture assortments, as shown below.

Technical Details

Crystal holding mount
Material   Polyimide (used in Kapton tape)
Crystal aperture sizes   10, 20, 30, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 micrometers
Thickness   7.5, 10 and 12.5 micrometers, depending on size of crystal aperture
Distance from center of alignment cross to center of crystal aperture   870 micrometers
Distance from pin base to center of crystal aperture   12.1 mm (for 11 mm pins)
20.1 mm (for 19 mm pins)
26.1 mm (for 25 mm pins)
18.5 mm (for SPINE length pens)
Width of wicking hole   250 micrometers. Compatible with Size 15 paper wicks.
Length tolerance   0.5 mm for 11, 19 and 25 mm pins, 0.3 mm for SPINE pins.
Length   11 mm, 17.6 mm (SPINE length), 19 mm and 25 mm lengths, marked in 2 mm intervals
Diameter   0.025" (0.64 mm) diameter
Material   Solid 316 non-magnetic stainless steel

Beveled at 30 degrees at each end.


Celebrity Endorsements

Cherezov, V. et. al. Rastering strategy for screening and centring of microcrystal samples of human membrane proteins with a sub-10 mm size X-ray synchrotron beam. J. R. Soc. Interface (2009) 6, S587-597.

Jindou, S. et. al. Crystallization and preliminary diffraction studies of CBM3b of cellobiohydrolase 9A from Clostridium thermocellum. Acta Cryst. (2007). F63, 1044-1047.

Petkun, S. et. al. Structure of a family 3b' carbohydrate-binding module from the Cel9V glycoside hydrolase from Clostridium thermocellum: structural diversity and implications for carbohydrate binding. Acta Cryst. (2010). D66, 33-43.

Noach, I. et. al. Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of Acetivibrio cellulolyticus cellulosomal type II cohesin module: two versions having different linker lengths. Acta Cryst. (2008). F64, 58-61.

Sanishvili, R. et. al. A 7 µm mini-beam improves diffraction data from small or imperfect crystals of macromolecules. Acta Cryst. (2008). D64, 425-435

Cornaby, S. et. al. Feasibility of one-shot-per-crystal structure determination using Laue diffraction. Acta Cryst. (2010). D66, 2-11.

Gillilian, R. E. et. al. Microcrystallography using single-bounce monocapillary optics. J. Synchrotron Rad. (2010). 17, 227-236.

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