Remote Access

Users can screen crystals and collect data from remote locations, process their data and solve structures using the computers remotely at SSRL, and work effectively with geographically dispersed collaborators.

Experiments are carried out in a fully remote access mode using a remote desktop application and beamline automation. The Stanford Auto-Mounting (SAM) System is used to mount crystals from high capacity cassettes which are stored in a liquid nitrogen dewar in the experimental hutch. Users can flash-cool samples at their home labs, load them into cassetes and ship them to SSRL in standard cryo-shipping dewars. An Excel spreadsheet is used for sample information and tracking which can be loaded into an SSRL database.

A remote desktop application runs on the User's home computer that displays an SSRL beamline desktop; Blu-Ice and data processing programs run as if the User was at the beamline. The crystal information in the SSRL database can be loaded into Blu-Ice and crystals can be screened in an automated fashion using the 'Screening Tab'. After screening, absortpion scans and data collection can proceed in the normal fashion.

The remote access tools enable implementation of BeamlineXpress, a beamline access program that makes it easy for crystallographers with flexible schedules to obtain beamtime on short notice and which allows a more efficient use of beamtime.

A detailed description for collecting data remotely can be found in the User's Guide.

Remote Access Applications

  • The Sample Database stores information pertaining to samples mounted in cassettes. Sample information in Excel spreadsheets associated with each cassette can be read into the SSRL database via a web browser. The database tools allow users to download templates for the SSRL Cassette or the Unipuck Adapter, upload filled in Excel spreadsheets and match database information with beamlines and cassette locations within the dewar in the hutch.
  • Remote access has enabled the implementation of BeamlineXpress, a beamline access program that makes it easy for crystallographers with flexible schedules to obtain beamtime on short notice and which allows a more efficient use of beamtime.
  • The Remote Desktop provides users with a complete computational environment for controlling and monitoring experiments, processing data, and solving structures from anywhere in the world. It requires NoMachine's NX client to be installed on the user's local computer.
  • Web-Ice is a web browser based facility for remote beamline monitoring, diffraction image viewing, image analysis, autoindexing and strategy calculation.
  • The BeamlineXpress application can be accessed here. New users can obtain a login ID in the registration page.
  • Data can be backed up to DVDs and subsequently mailed to users using the DVD Backup System.