As our aging sealed source SC-XRD instrument (installed 2007) was undergoing various failures on an increasing basis, a new instrument was essential to continue the research function of the facility. As is typical for most small facilities, the chance to purchase a new instrument may come along only once every decade. Therefore, it was extremely important to not only purchase an instrument capable of handling multiple research interests, but that is also robust enough handle 10+ years of service with as few major repairs and downtime as possible. As we were considering our options for a new system, we were definitely impressed with the data collection and refinement capabilities, but also the price point for Rigaku’s XtaLAB Synergy-S system.
Our XtaLAB Synergy-S system with dual micro-focus sources and the HyPix-6000HE detector was installed in March 2019, and we can definitely say that life in the facility has not been the same since. While we were expecting an increased ability to analyze smaller crystals due to the increase in X-ray flux due to the micro-focus sources, we were not prepared for the amount data we would collect in just the first year. The speed of data collection and ease of use has allowed our users to collect a significant number of large data sets that were not previously possible on older systems.
However, it is our current ability to obtain at least connectivity, if not full data, on small and poorly diffracting crystals that would have been near impossible in the past that has made the biggest difference. This ability has not only increased the number of regular users in the facility, but has also had an impact on the department in ways that were not expected. By reducing the number of crystallization attempts and increasing the speed of analysis, students have been able to either move through or alter reaction conditions quickly, saving them precious time and resources. Even groups that typically wouldn’t have used the facility in past, stop by with the random crystal for quick inspection and are continually impressed with the current speed of the technique.
Now, there have been a couple small maintenance issues with the instrument and software over the last year, but the Rigaku support team has been extremely helpful and downtimes have been minimal. It has been their dedication to customer service and satisfaction that has made our decision to purchase a Rigaku XtaLAB Synergy-S system seem like the right call.