Dedicated to state-of-the-art time-resolved research in biological and physical sciences.


BioCARS micro-spectrophotometer for on-line and off-line recording of optical absorption spectra of crystals, to aid X-ray diffraction studies.

Laser Lab

BioCARS ps laser system: Spectra Physics, Ti:Sapphire Spitfire Pro 5 (780nm, 2ps, 1kHz, 5mJ/pulse) and TOPAS OP

14-ID Beamline

BioCARS 14 ID beamline provides necessary infrastructure for conducting state-of-the-art time-resolved X-ray scattering studies with 100ps time resolution, both in biology and in physical sciences.

Laue X-ray Diffraction Pattern

Laue diffraction pattern collected at 14 ID from a Scapharca Inequivalvis tetrameric hemoglobin crystal, as part of 100ps time-resolved studies.

Argonne Site Access Requirements

Our Mission

BioCARS is a national user facility for synchrotron-based, dynamic studies in structural biology, located at Sector 14 of the Advanced Photon Source, at Argonne National Laboratory. BioCARS is an integral part of the multi-disciplinary Center for Advanced Radiation Sources (CARS) run by the University of Chicago.

Structural biology at BioCARS is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P41 GM118217.

The mission of BioCARS is to provide state-of-the-art X-ray facility, scientific and technical expertise and support to enable users to study the dynamic properties of biological macromolecules by X-ray scattering techniques: time-resolved diffraction and solution scattering (SAXS/WAXS). In hybrid mode of the APS storage ring, BioCARS 14-ID beamline provides high polychromatic flux, with a number of photons per 100ps pulse approaching that of free electron lasers (such as the LCLS). Short X-ray pulses are synchronized with ps or ns laser pulses for conducting pump-probe time-resolved experiments. We are currently developing methods for serial Laue micro-crystallography to facilitate studies of irreversible reactions while minimizing sample consumption. We are also implementing electric-field jump as a method for reaction initiation and studies of protein dynamics. The overall goal of time-resolved experiments is to understand basic biological processes in structural and dynamics terms, on time scales from 100 picoseconds to seconds.

*As of February 6, 2017, BioCARS facility is decommissioned as a BSL-3 laboratory. BioCARS is now approved for research up to the BSL-2 level.


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Recent Publications

Lee, S. J., Kim, T. W., Kim, J. G., Yang, C., Yun, S. R., Kim, C., Ren, Z., Kumarapperuma, I., Kuk, J., Moffat, K., Yang, X., and Ihee, H. (2022)
Light-induced protein structural dynamics in bacteriophytochrome revealed by time-resolved x-ray solution scattering.
Science Advances 8, eabm6278.

Moreno-Chicano et al. (2022)
Complementarity of neutron, XFEL and synchrotron crystallography for defining the structures of metalloenzymes at room temperature.
IUCrJ 9, 610–624.

Biju, L. M., Wang, C., Kang, W., Tom, I. P., Kumarapperuma, I., Yang, X., and Ren, Z. (2022)
On-chip Crystallization and Large-Scale Serial Diffraction at Room Temperature.
JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) e63022.

Li, J., Zhu, Y., Yu, H., Dai, B., Jun, Y.-S., and Zhang, F. (2021)
Microbially Synthesized Polymeric Amyloid Fiber Promotes β-Nanocrystal Formation and Displays Gigapascal Tensile Strength.
ACS Nano
15, 11843–11853.

Carrillo, M. et al. (2021)
High-resolution crystal structures of transient intermediates in the phytochrome photocycle.
29, 743-754.e4.

Latest News and Highlights

BioCARS Starts a New Zoom Seminar Series

During these times of COVID-19 restrictions, when most BioCARS users cannot travel to BioCARS to conduct their experiments, we deemed it essential to continue regular communications and scientific discussions with our user community. We decided to start BioCARS Zoom...

High-viscosity injector-based pink-beam serial crystallography of microcrystals at a synchrotron radiation source

Martin-Garcia, J. M., Zhu, L., Mendez, D., Lee, M.-Y., Chun, E., Li, C., Hu, H., Subramanian, G., Kissick, D., Ogata, C., Henning, R., Ishchenko, A., Dobson, Z., Zhang, S., Weierstall, U., Spence, J. C. H., Fromme, P., Zatsepin, N. A., Fischetti, R. F., Cherezov, V., and Liu, W. High-viscosity injector-based pink-beam serial crystallography of microcrystals at a synchrotron radiation source. IUCrJ 6, 412–425 (2019)

2019 Science Careers in Search of Women Conference, Tour of BioCARS

On April 11, 2019, ANL hosted the annual Science Careers in Search of Women Conference (SCSW) and CARS was part of the tour. High-school students from across the Chicago area were provided with the unique opportunity to learn more about STEM careers, in an effort to...