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.

Important Information

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Our Mission

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 ~3 × 1010 photons per 100ps pulse delivered to the sample. Short X-ray pulses are synchronized with ps or ns laser pulses for conducting pump-probe time-resolved experiments. In recent years we developed and implemented these technologies that are now offered as standard methods to BioCARS users:

  • Serial Laue micro-crystallography using fixed targets and crystal injectors to facilitate studies of irreversible reactions while minimizing sample consumption.
  • Electric-field jump as a method for reaction initiation and studies of protein dynamics.
  • Novel temperature-controlled sample cells for temperature-jump solution scattering studies.
  • Sample-minimizing co-flow cell for time-resolved solution scattering studies of irreversible reactions.

The overall goal of time-resolved experiments at BioCARS is to understand basic biological processes in structural and dynamics terms, on time scales from 100 picoseconds to seconds.

Use of BioCARS is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P41 GM118217. Funding acknowledgement  for publications resulting from use of BioCARS facility can be found here.


Quick Links

Recent Publications

Chan, A. M., Nijhawan, A. K., Hsu, D. J., Leshchev, D., Rimmerman, D., Kosheleva, I., Kohlstedt, K. L., and Chen, L. X.
The Role of Transient Intermediate Structures in the Unfolding of the Trp-Cage Fast-Folding Protein: Generating Ensembles from Time-Resolved X-ray Solution Scattering with Genetic Algorithms.
J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 14, 1133–1139 (2023).

Dalton, K. M., Greisman, J. B., and Hekstra, D. R.
A unifying Bayesian framework for merging X-ray diffraction data.
Nat Commun
13, 7764 (2022).

Wilamowski, M., Sherrell, D. A., Kim, Y., Lavens, A., Henning, R. W., Lazarski, K., Shigemoto, A., Endres, M., Maltseva, N., Babnigg, G., Burdette, S. C., Srajer, V., and Joachimiak, A.
Time-resolved β-lactam cleavage by L1 metallo-β-lactamase.
Nat Commun 13, 7379 (2022).

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.

Latest News and Highlights

See also: APS Science Highlights

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...

New BioCARS Director, Prof. Rama Ranganathan

(December 2017) Distinguished biophysicist Rama Ranganathan joined University of Chicago as a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Institute for Molecular Engineering. He is the new Director of BioCARS facility and will also lead the...

Pink-beam serial crystallography

Meents, A., Wiedorn, M. O., Srajer, V., Henning, R., Sarrou, I., Bergtholdt, J., Barthelmess, M., Reinke, P. Y. A., Dierksmeyer, D., Tolstikova, A., Schaible, S., Messerschmidt, M., Ogata, C. M., Kissick, D. J., Taft, M. H., Manstein, D. J., Lieske, J., Oberthuer, D., Fischetti, R. F., and Chapman, H. N. Pink-beam serial crystallography. Nature Communications 8, 1281 (2017)