First EIGER X 16M in operation at the Swiss Light Source
The EIGER X 16M succeeds a PILATUS 6M, an instrument that has led to the determination of many important protein structures and contributed to the reputation of beamline X06SA as one of the world's best. In addition to the technical specs, Wang is also excited about is the application programming interface that simplifies detector operation. The transition from the camserver of the PILATUS to the new API was a happy one.
Firmware version 1.5 delivered with the EIGER represents a very stable and high-performance release. "The system installed at SLS exceeds the specifications that we promised during the Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation conference in July 2015", said Clemens Schulze-Briese, CSO of DECTRIS.
Among the first users of the EIGER X 16M was Hauke Hillen, a PhD student from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. On a recent afternoon, he was busy collecting data for experimental phasing of a crystal structure based on the sulfur signal. Between datasets, he stopped for a quick chat: "I'm very impressed with the EIGER", he said. "It's so fast." With this, the conversation was over, as he had to rush back to his experiment.
The high frame rate and large number of pixels of the EIGER X 16M lead to unprecedented amounts of raw data. To make online data processing, speedy transfer to the users' home labs and reliable archiving possible, bit-shuffle filtered LZ4 compression was introduced. This compression strategy is not only fast enough to keep up with the generated data but also more efficient than CBF compression. Vincent Olieric, beamline scientist at the PSI, was impressed that the new detector does not generate much more data on disk than the previous PILATUS 6M. "It's great for users", he said.
The development of the EIGER X 16M now operating at SLS was accelerated by a grant by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) to promote collaboration between academia and business. The detector could thus be tested under realistic experimental conditions from an early stage. Moving from prototype to final product, DECTRIS engineers and scientists have developed an instrument that meets the needs of the most exacting X-ray crystallographers. Eventually, all EIGER customers will benefit from that.